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Southend United's Neil Harris: The romance of the FA Cup isn't dead for me
IT’S the FA Cup this weekend as we take on Stockport County at Roots Hall.
And for me it is still the best domestic cup competition in the world.
Some people question the importance of the cups in this country now and whether or not they still have that magic.
But, after Arsenal won 7-5 at Reading on Tuesday night, I don’t think that can be said anymore!
We would like to have a good run in the cup and before the draw is made you want to be at home, ideally against a team from a lower division.
That’s what we have in Stockport, but we’re taking nothing for granted because there will be no room for error.
However, we need to get back on track in our home matches because results-wise the last few matches at Roots Hall have been disappointing.
I personally don’t feel that the players suffer from a lack of confidence playing at home because it’s not as though we’re being watched by 25,000 fans baying for blood.
We actually have good fans who are keen to get behind us and I personally feel we’ve struggled when teams have come to Roots Hall and tried to make it difficult by putting men behind the ball.
It was the same last season and I think we’re better suited to when teams attack us more as it gives us the space to hit them on the break.
We need to try and get the balance right but, although Saturday’s game is a potential banana skin, it is also a good chance for us to get back to winning ways at home.
Unfortunately I will again be out of action with my knee injury but I do finally feel as though I’m making progress.
I’ve had a good week of training which has included running and passing the ball, and today I’ll be looking to step things up even further.
I will need to start twisting and turning, doing longer passing and shooting at goal, but I can finally see light at the end of the tunnel.
It’s been a frustrating few weeks for me not playing and the last game I had to miss was the 0-0 draw with York City.
I’m always someone who likes to look at the positives and getting a clean sheet was certainly good news for the whole team and not just the defence. There weren’t many chances in the game and York probably had the better of the ones that did arrive, but we did well to keep them out. The performance of Alex Woodyard in midfield was another plus point and it was good to see Marc Laird coming in alongside him.
I’ve known Lairdy for about five years now after we played together at Millwall.
He is smashing guy who lives and breathes football and takes the game very seriously.
He had a fantastic upbringing through the youth team ranks at Manchester City and is a quality player who likes to put pressure on opponents high up the pitch.
I’m sure he will do well for us, but his arrival will certainly not increase the IQ levels in our dressing room!
He drives in with David Martin which would put Dumb and Dumber to shame and they were involved in a car accident ahead of the game with York.
Thankfully everyone involved was fine but what wasn’t reported is that the accident was apparently caused by them driving the wrong way round a roundabout!
FOR COLUMN IN THURSDAY'S ECHO