SOUTHEND United manager Phil Brown believes the first goal will be key in tomorrow’s clash at Rotherham United.

Blues beat Blackburn Rovers 2-1 on the opening day of the League One season before suffering a shock 2-0 defeat to Newport County in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night.

And the Shrimpers boss feels his side may have to net first if they are to secure back-to-back league wins.

“I think the most important thing in the game this weekend is going to be the first goal,” said Brown.

“If their fans are up and they’re leading then it’s going to be a tough game but if we score first and get in front then it could be a tough game for them so it’s important we start well.

“I’m sure it will be a fantastic surface and the challenge is for us to go there and be a better football team than them.

“But our mentality is also going to be important.”

Brown made five changes to his starting line-up for the midweek cup clash with Newport.

However, the 58-year-old now looks set to revert back to the side which started against Blackburn on the opening day.

And that would see John White continuing as a centre-back ahead of summer signing Rob Kiernan, who played 90 minutes against Newport.

“John has been the first choice right back here but I always knew defensively he could play in other positions,” said Brown.

“I think I could still play alongside Anton Ferdinand because his positional sense and experience helps his partner but John will be a big asset for us this season.

“He can cover a number of positions and he’s very, very important.

“But as well as that he’s been a pleasure to work with for the four years I’ve been here.”

White will again figure in front of goalkeeper Mark Oxley this weekend.

But the Shrimpers shot-stopper is expecting a tough test on his return to Rotherham.

“They have some good players and were in the Championship last season so this is going to be another difficult game,” he said.

“But it was great to start off with a win against Blackburn and we want to go and build on that now.”