FORMER Southend United striker Ian Benjamin believes Chris Powell infectious enthusiasm will make him a big hit with the Shrimpers.

Benjamin played alongside Powell in a successful Blues side in the early 1990s.

And Benjamin has already noticed big improvements since his former team-mate returned to Roots Hall.

“I watched the game at Northampton and the game at Peterborough too and there was definitely a difference,” said Benjamin who scored 38 goals in 139 games while with Blues.

“I actually though Southend started well at Northampton but they went missing in the second half.

“On Saturday at Peterborough the team worked so hard, they won every second ball and Chris has an infectious enthusiasm they will be drawn to.

“I was a bit concerned from set pieces and I think Southend had a little bit of luck with the first goal which was disallowed for offside but they deserved the win and it was great to see.”

And Benjamin believes Powell will be able to build on his fine start.

“I thought Chris was unlucky to lose his job at Huddersfield and he’s done well wherever he’s been so I’m sure he can build things back up again for Southend,” said Benjamin, 56.

“There’s a sense of euphoria at the moment because of how popular Chris was at the club as a player but not everything will go his way.

“Things will soon settle down but he will do a good job and I’m sure he can draw on what he learned from the managers we had, especially David Webb.”

Benjamin is best remembered for sealing Blues’ promotion into what is now the Championship by scoring the only goal of the game at Bury in 1991.

And he could soon be back involved with the Shrimpers himself.

“I’ve spoken to Chris and Roger Cross and there’s the possibility of me doing some scouting for the club,” said Benjamin.

“It would be a pleasure for me to be involved.”