Things are looking up at last for Southend United

Ryan Cresswell celebrates beating his former side

Ryan Cresswell celebrates beating his former side

First published in Sport by

A WEEK is always a long time in football and probably even longer when it comes to the soap opera that is Southend United.

But since a depleted Blues team scraped a 2-2 draw with bottom of the table Barnet in front of a frustrated crowd last weekend, things have actually started to progress positively for Paul Sturrock's side.

And all that culminated in a fantastic 3-0 win at highly fancied Rotherham United on Saturday as Blues made it 32 years without a defeat away against the Millers.

The margin of their latest victory in Yorkshire could and probably should have been more convincing as Blues produced what was easily their best performance of the season so far.

As a result Rotherham, who started the campaign as favourites for promotion, were easily brushed aside thanks to a brace from Britt Assombalonga.

The youngster, who is on loan with Blues from Watford, has now bagged nine goals already this season and his scoring capabilities continue to add an extra dimension to the side.

Southend will now surely be wanting to extend the striker's loan spell beyond January but, up until then, Sturrock will be looking to strengthen his team in other areas.

And, with the transfer embargo having been lifted, that is now possible too.

The Scotsman has already moved quickly to bring Jonson Clarke-Harris in on loan from Peterborough and a central midfielder is expected to follow in his foot-steps later this week.

That is a massive bonus for Blues who had been severely lacking in certain areas of the team.

But fresh faces will bring added cover and competition and also increase Sturrock's options from the substitutes bench.

All of those ingredients are essential if a push for promotion is to be maintained and so too is a good team spirit.

That is certainly in place at Blues who, in a further boost, have finally agreed deals to enable both Bilel Mohsni and Ryan Hall to depart.

The farcical uncertainty surrounding the duo's futures while they trained away from the club was allowed to drag on for far too long.

But, with Mohsni now at Ipswich and Hall closing in on a loan switch to Leeds, attention can now switch back to the players totally committed to Southend.

The focus of the fans will also be on the club's new chief executive Steve Kavanagh, who has spoken well since his arrival at Roots Hall.

With more than 10 years of experience at Charlton Athletic, Kavanagh clearly has the experience and understanding to succeed in his new role.

However, much will depend on how long he lasts.

Tara Brady and Gary Lockett both spoke well after arriving at the club but were only in the position for a matter of months before deciding to depart.

It now remains to be seen if Kavanagh also becomes frustrated but the early signs are all positive and so is his desire to communicate more frequently with the fans.

Kavanagh also regularly mentioned the importance of a new stadium during his first interview with Echosport last week and it therefore remains clear how crucial the scheduled switch to Fossetts Farm remains in Blues' future.

But a trip to Rotherham's newly built New York Stadium again raised frustrations at the time delay in Southend's own planned relocation.

The Millers received planning permission three years after Blues got theirs but already find themselves playing at an impressive new stadium before one brick has even been laid at Fossetts Farm.

Their switch also cost £25 million, which is far less than Southend's own ambitious plans, and makes you wonder if Blues may have been better going for a smaller upgrade themselves.

Time well tell what would ultimately have been the best option but, right now, there is enough to worry about on the pitch for Southend as they bid to really get in the race for promotion.

And who knows what the next seven days might hold?

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