GARY Waddock insists Southend United will not be taking the opposition or competition lightly tonight.

Blues host Brighton & Hove Albion’s under-23 side in the Trophy at Roots Hall this evening.

But Waddock is determined to secure victory.

“With the run of form we’ve had, we need to be winning games and we will approach this as a League game,” said Waddock.

“We want to get some momentum and confidence going into the League game at Gillingham on Saturday so this is a match we very much want to go and win.”

However, Waddock is expecting a tough test against the young Seagulls.

“We won’t underestimate Brighton,” said Waddock.

“I saw them last year and we’ve watched videos of their recent games.

“They have some very talented players within their group.

“I know the coaches there too and they’re very good, talented coaches who do good work down there.

“Make no mistake about it, we will be approaching this in the right way.”

The Shrimpers started their Trophy campaign with a 2-0 defeat at Leyton Orient in a game which saw Isaac Hutchinson sent off for violent conduct.

Hutchinson will therefore be suspended for this evening’s clash but left-back Nathan Ralph is free to feature.

The defender was red carded during Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Accrington Stanley but he will be suspended for this weekend’s trip to Gillingham and not tonight’s encounter.

Brighton won their first group fixture, securing a 2-0 victory at AFC Wimbledon.

And Waddock - who has had no update on the managerial situation - is looking for an improved display.

“We were all so disappointed with Saturday but we can’t do anything about that now,” said the former Wycombe Wanderers.

“We will continue to look forward and this is our first home game so we want an improved performance.”