SOUTHEND United boss Kevin Maher was forced into the changes he made against Ebbsfleet United this afternoon.

Blues had to take off goalscorer Harry Cardwell at the start of the second half before a tiring Jack Bridge was also substituted late on in the 1-1 draw.

And Maher admitted the fitness issues also meant he was not able to make his final change until the last few minutes.

“There’s tightness everywhere,” said Maher.

“Bridgey has run 60 or 70 yards to get back in but then he’s done so we had to make that change.

“We’re hanging on with that last sub because Ralphy has a tight hamstring too so we had to see how he was too.

“Cardwell is really tight and it’s hamstrings that are tight.

“Tuesday night with the heavy pitch and the travel he was feeling it at half-time.

“We didn’t want to put him at danger so he came off.

“Bridgey has a bit of a knock and Ralphy too.

“I want to go and win the game but we’ve got to manage players too.