ALAN McCormack is frustrated at failing to force his way back into Southend United’s starting line-up.

But for once the midfielder is not venting his fury.

The tough tackler has made five substitute appearances for the Shrimpers since recovering from the knee operation which made him miss the start of the season.

However, that has only increased McCormack’s determination to make the side and he is hoping his chance may come tomorrow at Bristol Rovers.

“It’s been frustrating for me and no player really likes to be coming on for just 10 of 15 minutes at the end of games,” said the Irishman.

“The team is doing well and I’m keeping my feelings to myself.

“There’s no chance of me becoming a bad apple and disrupting the group because the team is doing well and that’s what matters the most.

“But there is no question about my fitness now and I’m just waiting for the manager to give me a chance - hopefully it might come tomorrow.”

Jean Francois-Christophe and Lee Sawyer are the current partnership in the centre of the park but Sawyer has not been at his best in the last three matches.

Yet McCormack, who has put the pressure on by performing well in the reserves, knows whoever gets the nod will be in for a tricky test against the Pirates.

“It’s not a nice place to go and play because they play rugby too on their pitch and we will have to mix it up,” he said.

“We like to play football but at the same time we have to be ready to battle too which I’m sure we will be.”

The clash also sees two of the league’s in-form sides going head to head.

Southend, who are sixth in the table, have now gone seven matches unbeaten while Rovers have not lost in six.

“It means both teams will be confident and that should make for a good game,” added McCormack.