SOUTHEND United’s Dave Penney will return to Bristol Rovers tonight for the first time since being sacked as their manager.

Penney, who is now number two to Phil Brown at the Shrimpers, spent only 13 games in charge of the Pirates before being dismissed in March 2011.

But he still claims to have enjoyed his time in charge of the club.

“I wasn’t really there for very long, I had 12 or 13 games in charge but I actually enjoyed it because they’re certainly a big club with good support,” said Penney.

“I can’t really say too much because of confidentiality agreements but results didn’t go their way when Darren Patterson came in for Paul Trollope and they didn’t when I was in charge either.

“Stuart Campbell got the job after me and they ended up getting relegated but it was a while ago now and I will be going back obviously focusing on Southend.”

The eighth placed Shrimpers will be bidding to get back in to the play-offs while Bristol Rovers are fighting against relegation.

They are 20th in the League Two table.

But Penney knows they will be tough to beat at their own ground.

“I think Bristol Rovers have the fourth best home record in the league so it’s going to be hard for us going there,” said the Shrimpers’ coach.

“However we want to get the win to kick start ourselves again and get some momentum going for the rest of the season.

“Dropping out of the play-offs means we’ve had a shift in mentality because we’re now trying to get back in to the top seven again.

“That makes tonight’s game a very important one.”

Blues have no new injury concerns ahead of the game but will be missing striker Barry Corr who begins a three match suspension.

And Penney feels the Irishman’s absence could mean a change in style for the Shrimpers.

“We might have to pass it a bit more with Barry being out,” said Penney.

“It gives Freddy Eastwood or Lee Barnard or maybe them both a chance to step up and stake a claim.

“But Seedy Njie and Jack Payne both did well for our game at Ipswich in the week and I’m sure they will also be considered.”