SOUTHEND United centre-back John White is keen to keep on making the most of his ‘unexpected’ role as a first team regular.

White has already equalled his appearance tally from the whole of last season.

And the defender is relishing his role in the side after spending so much of the previous campaign out of favour.

“It’s hard when you’re not getting picked and, although it might sound strange, I think it’s actually worse than being injured,” said White.

“When you’re injured you know you can’t be picked but when you’re actually fit and you’re not picked because you’re not needed it’s pretty tough to have to take.

“I had that last season and I guess it was expected to be like that this season as well with the defenders who came to the club in the summer.

“But I got given a chance and I would like to think I’ve taken it.

“I’m pleased to have played in more of the matches this year but I know I have to keep on playing well to make sure that stays the case.”

White - who has started the Shrimpers’ last six matches - has switched from right-back to centre-back since the end of last season and has been among the club’s most consistent performers this term.

And the 31-year-old hopes Blues will now start to shine more regularly.

“The Yeovil game was obviously disappointing but we do feel as though things are starting to change,” said White.

“We’ve won three of our last four games and we’ve got three clean sheets too which has been pleasing.

“The old saying about busses has certainly been true where that’s concerned but we have to keep on working hard to make sure that continues.”

The Shrimpers’ next chance to impress comes at Portsmouth this weekend and White cannot wait to take to the field of play.

“It’s an exciting game to be a part and one we’re looking forward to,” said White.

“It’s obviously a difficult place to go but there’s always a really good atmosphere there and we always seem to take a lot of fans there too which is good.

“We have done quite well against Portsmouth the last few times we’ve played them and we’ll be doing all we can to make sure that continues.”