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Three wins in a week for Southend United - but still work to be done
SATURDAY'S 3-1 win over Dagenham & Redbridge made it a trio of home wins in the space of a week for Southend United.
A first half brace from the on loan Britt Assombalonga and yet another goal from defender Ryan Cresswell swayed the match in Blues' favour.
But there can be no denying that an eighth minute red card shown to Daggers defender Luke Wilkinson for a professional foul was the game's decisive moment because up until that point the visitors had arguably been enjoying more of the game.
And, even when down to 10 men, Dagenham could still have taken something from the game had Abu Ogogo taken a golden opportunity to score just seconds before Cresswell restored a two goal cushion for Southend.
That passage of play ultimately led to a third successive victory for Blues but they were almost forced to pay for their carelessness in front of goal.
Gavin Tomlin in particular failed to take a number of chances which came his way against his former team and Paul Sturrock's side must start to become more clinical if their run of recent good results is to be continued.
However, it has to remain a positive that Southend are carving out the chances and Kevan Hurst's return to the team certainly helped that at the weekend.
The winger has endured an injury disrupted start to his time at Roots Hall but against Daggers he displayed good composure on the ball and an ability to cause problems in the final third.
With David Martin on the opposite flank, Blues also fielded a far more attacking side than usual which was great to see but this is still very much work in progress for Sturrock at this stage.
After all, just three players from Saturday's starting line-up were in the team for the home leg of last season's play off semi-final against Crewe Alexanda and the Southend boss is therefore having to again put together a new look team.
With Anthony Grant having left and Ryan Hall and Bilel Mohsni also all but gone Sturrock has lost players of genuine quality at League Two level and has been forced to alter his side.
There is still more work to be done though as Blues are simply crying out for a ball winning midfielder in the centre of the park and a targetman type of striker who is able to dominate opposition defences.
Whether or not the finances are there for those type of signings to be made remains to be seen, but if Southend are serious about pushing for promotion this term then more acquisitions have to be made.
That was shown by the substitutes bench on Saturday, where Sturrock was only able to fill six of the allocated seven spaces and that included youth team striker Seedy Njie.
But Blues also need to make sure they keep hold of the players they already have in their small squad, most notably Assombalonga.
The young forward is currently with Southend on loan from Watford and, in scoring four times in his first six games, he has made the most prolific start to a Blues career since Leon Clarke in 2007.
His strikes have already earned his side five points and recent history at Roots Hall has shown how valuable a consistent goalscorer can be.
However, such form is likely to soon start attracting clubs from a higher level who may also be keen to be bring in Assombalonga on loan.
And that is why Blues must act fast to keep him at the club, with the addition of at least two more loan signings if the team are to come anywhere near a top seven finish for the second season in succession.