ROSS O’Brien will be making sure a new-look Southend Saxons know all about the importance of playing Westcliff this weekend.

The Saxons handed 10 full debuts to players for Saturday’s 35-25 defeat to Sidcup.

And O’Brien - who is currently captaining the team - will be the stressing the importance of bouncing back at the Gables.

“The more senior players and me will be getting the players right up for this one,” said O’Brien, who started at full-back on the opening day.

“By Saturday they will all know what it means to play against Westcliff.

“It is just about making sure they realise the history between the clubs and what it’s like to lose against them.

But after last season we’re 1-1 at the moment so hopefully it will be 2-1 to Southend this weekend.”

Southend scored three tries on the first outing of the new campaign but were unable to avoid defeat.

However, O’Brien still took plenty of encouragement from the game.

“I thought there were lots of positives to take out of it but there is a lot to work on too,” said O’Brien.

“But we have done plenty of match analysis on the different areas where we can improve upon so we will be ready for the game come Saturday.

"We were disappointed not to get the win because we had the chances to win the match but hopefully it will be a different story on Saturday.”

And O’Brien has already noticed a difference in training.

“I have to say the players are buzzing this week,” said O’Brien.

“The intensity has really been stepped up and players are really excited for this massive game.

"There’s definitely a different feel around the club on derby week and we can’t wait to get out on the pitch against Westcliff.”

O’Brien is again expected to captain Southend and insists he is honoured to have been given the added responsibility.

“I am acting captain at the moment, which was a bit of a surprise if I’m honest as I’ve had only a season at this club but its’ a huge honour,” said O’Brien.

“It definitely meant a lot to be asked and it’s a job I don’t take lightly, especially on a derby weekend against our arch rivals Westcliff.

"It’s live or die at the weekend, that’s how much it means to the people in this club.”