SOUTHEND United skipper Nathan Ralph wants to make his 100th appearance for the Shrimpers one of the most memorable this weekend.

Ralph will reach three figures for Blues when they host table-topping Chesterfield at Roots Hall tomorrow.

And the 30-year-old defender wants to celebrate the landmark in style.

“I’m really looking forward to it and I’m really happy to be getting to 100 games,” said Ralph.

“It’s taken longer than I would’ve liked to get there but I’m proud to have made this many games for the club and hopefully we can get a result to make Saturday even more memorable.”

Ralph joined the Shrimpers back in 2019.

And, after a challenging few years, the defender now feels the Shrimpers are in a strong place on the pitch.

“There have been some challenging times.” said Ralph.

“There have been ups and downs and it’s definitely been eventful.

“I enjoy playing for this club and the mentality change from when I first came in to now is massive.

“We’re a lot more of a optimistic side now and when I first came in you went into games almost waiting to lose.

“But we back ourselves against anyone now.”

And that means Ralph is not daunted by facing the league leaders this weekend.

“We’re really looking forward to it,” said Ralph.

“They’re top of the league but when you play one of the big teams at Roots Hall there’s always a good atmosphere.

“We always back ourselves when we’re at our best against anyone in this league, especially when we’re at home. We’ll have to bring our A game and we’ll be more than ready.”

The Shrimpers will go into the game sitting 16th in the National League standings.

But Ralph is determined to bounce back from Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Altrincham.

“We were disappointed with the result,” said Ralph.

“We know they are a good team but on our day we could definitely have taken something from the game.

“It was frustrating that we weren’t at our best but we still had some good chances to score.

“There were positives to take but obviously overall it was disappointing. Up until then we had been on a good run and when you lose a game you don’t want to get on a bad run so it would be good to bounce back and get good results.”

Blues had been unbeaten in seven league games before being beaten by Altrincham. But the game helped Ralph improve his match sharpness having worked hard during the fortnight’s break before the fixture.

“The break gave me time to work on things and to get more strength back into my ankle,” said Ralph.

“Saturday was a tough game on a tough pitch though and it was good to get that in my legs. It was quite end to end and I’ll be ready for Saturday.”

And Ralph always expected the game to be on, despite issues surrounding the number of available players.

“We know the situation and we try to simplify things,” said Ralph.

“It’s 11 people on the pitch so lets see what we can do against their 11.

“We always had in our heads it was going to be on and we’ll continue to prepare for it like normal.”