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Southend United's Neil Harris: We're ready for the play-offs
THIS will be my fifth time in the play-offs when we play Crewe this weekend and I can’t wait for the game to come around.
These end-of-season matches are always an unbelievable experience because there’s so much at stake and it creates all kinds of feelings for everyone involved.
There are nerves, excitement, adrenaline and pressure but they’re fantastic occasions and this is why we all want to play football.
The play-offs always produce extreme highs and extreme blows and I’ve experienced them both in the past.
Twice I lost in the semi-finals with Millwall and then another time in the final to Scunthorpe, which was very hard to take.
But, in 2010, I was part of the Millwall team who won there in the final against Swindon Town and it was just amazing.
For me there is no better feeling in the game than winning promotion at Wembley because it really is something special.
You’re at one of the most famous and magnificent football grounds in the world and you’re there with all your friends, family, fans and team-mates.
It’s like being in a bubble and it would be brilliant to get there with Southend.
However, Crewe will have exactly the same aspirations and will be extremely difficult opponents for us.
They haven’t lost since we beat them back at Roots Hall in February and have some exceptionally talented young players, which they have always been famed for.
We’re aware of their strengths but when it comes down to the play-offs you just have to worry about yourself and play how you know you can.
You then have to hope that can be enough to get you through and that the little bit of luck that can often decide these matches goes your way.
We have also been in good form and we’re going in to these games full of confidence but not being arrogant.
Our run of good results continued against Macclesfield last weekend and it was pleasing to get another win.
It seemed for about an hour that a victory might also be enough to get us promoted but, in the end, it wasn’t to be as Crawley got the result they needed to finish third.
They deserved to be congrulated on their season but so do we because 83 points is a superb tally of points to have finished up with.
Most seasons it would be enough to secure promotion but it hasn’t worked out that way this year.
Our focus is therefore very much on the play-offs and it has been right from the final whistle of the Macclesfield game.
We had always been realistic about our chances of sneaking back in to the top three, so we’ve been prepared for the play-offs for a while now.
And it’s important we have as many of our fans behind us in both games as possible.
The support away from home has shocked me this season in terms of how many fans travel to games and the noise they make, so I hope that can continue on Saturday.
Having the North Bank back has also made a massive difference to the atmosphere at our home matches and it would be a huge boost if the whole ground could be full next Wednesday to create a very special atmosphere.
FULL COLUMN IN THURSDAY'S ECHO