SOUTHEND United manager Chris Powell was quick to praise his side’s defensive work following tonight’s 0-0 draw at Rochdale.

Before his arrival in late January, the Shrimpers had the worst defensive record in the division.

But Powell has yet to see Blues concede on their travels and was thrilled by the latest clean sheet.

“You look at the positives and another clean sheet is definitely one,” said Powell.

“Mark Oxley made two or three very good saves for us again tonight.

“He’s got another clean sheet and he’ll want more because goalkeepers thrive on them.

“The centre-backs showed their experience and that led to an improved performance in the second half.

“If you’re getting clean sheets on the road then you’ll walk away with a point or three.

“We did it at Peterborough, Bury and now Rochdale so it’s a solid point and a point in the right direction.”

However, the Shrimpers have now failed to score in their last three games and Powell is determined to improve his team’s form in front of goal.

“It’s another game we haven’t scored but we’re looking OK in passages of play and our build up play too,” said Powell.

“But it’s now about hitting the back of the net.

“It’s not a huge concern though because we’re not losing and it will turn for us if we keep having efforts.”

Powell felt the Shrimpers looked far more threatening in the second half at Spotland.

And the Blues boss also thought his team should have been awarded a penalty when Marc-Antoine Fortune appeared to be brought down in the box.

“We created the better chances in the second half and we should have had a penalty as well,” said Powell.

“Marco beat their player and was taken out.

“It was a very strange performance by the officials but that’s all I will say on that one.”