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PAUL Brush believes the first goal will be hugely significant in tonight’s JPT clash at Roots Hall.

The former Blues number two, who also managed Leyton Orient, is expecting a tense evening when his two former teams go head to head.

But he feels whoever opens the scoring may well go on to win the tie.

“The first goal will be massive and will give whoever gets it real momentum,” said Brush.

“If it goes Southend’s way then they would have the cushion of a two goal lead and they could afford to relax a bit more.

“However, if Orient get it then they’re right back in the tie and will fancy their chances of winning it.”

Brush worked alongside Steve Tilson during his spell at Roots Hall and helped Blues get through to the final of this competition in 2004 and 2005.

Both times Southend went in to the second leg of the area final with a narrow one goal lead from the first meeting between the sides.

And Brush therefore knows how awkward that can be.

“You have something to hang on to and it can be feeling anxious,” said Brush.

“You worry that one mistake lets the other team back in it but both times it an exciting and nervy evening and I’m sure this will be the same because they’re playing for the chance to get to a Wembley final.

“Players in League One and League Two don’t get opportunities like that very often and being the southern based side it would be extra special because Wembley is nearer and you’re likely to take a large number of supporters.”

Brush will be watching the action unfold live on television.

But he is now focused on helping Tottenham Hotspur develop their own players.

“I coach players here aged between 15 and 20 and really enjoy it,” said Brush.

“The facilities are fantastic, I work with and for some great people and I coach a wide range of players so I’m very happy doing it.”