SOUTHEND United striker Simon Cox will continue to work his way back to full fitness after a surprise start to his season.

Cox played the final 33 minutes of Saturday’s 1-0 defeat against Coventry City.

But, having only just started his own pre-season, Cox did not expect to play for so long against the Sky Blues.

“It was a surprise to play for that long but my fitness felt OK, “said Cox.

“I originally wasn’t going to be on the bench but then circumstances changed and the manager spoke to me at the pre-match meal about it.

“I didn’t know whether I would come on but it was nice to get some minutes and to play for the first time in six or seven weeks.

“It was obviously disappointing to lose but from a personal point of view I felt I did OK but I’m fully aware I have a lot of work to do.”

Cox missed the majority of Blues’ pre-season campaign with calf problems and only returned to training at the end of last week.

But the 32-year-old striker will now work hard on improving fitness.

“I’ll do all the training that the team do and will then do the additional work I know I need to do,” said Cox.

“Fingers crossed this will be my first full week of training and it’s the start of my pre-season really.

“There will be no days off but I know we have to be careful because we have a lot of games coming up and there’s no point in me blowing up.

“But I’ll listen to what the coaches tell me to do and it’s just good to be back out there again either.”

Cox entered the action alongside Stephen Humphrys against Coventry at the weekend. And he felt the Shrimpers looked far more of a threat with two strikers on the pitch.

“My own personal opinion was that we looked better with two strikers because we could get further up the pitch,” said Cox.

“I thought we imposed our style on them more in the second half and we looked the fitter team in the second half too which is encouraging.

“The result was obviously frustrating but we have 45 games to put things right now.”

Blues will now be bidding to get back on track against Blackpool at Roots Hall. And Cox - who will make his 150th appearance for the club - is looking forward to the first home game of the season.

“It’s our first game at home and hopefully we can have as many fans there as there was for the last one against Sunderland and we can make it a similar atmosphere,” said Cox.

“We want to get points on board as quickly as we can and for me personally I’ll be proud to make my 150th appearance.”