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Cox: Good competition for places

6 February 2014

Manager Paul Cox admits a number of players are in contention for a starting place in Saturday’s Sky Bet League Two match with Southend United.

Apart from Jake Speight, who has a long-term knee issue, Cox has an almost full-strength squad to choose from ahead of this match.

Our boss also received a welcome boost earlier this week as our reserve team eased to a 2-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday in the Final Third Development League.

Ross Dyer and Ben Hutchinson, on his return from injury, were on the score-sheet and Cox admits there were a number of impressive displays.

“The boys did well. There were some really good performances and I think it’s important to keep players match-fit now, because everyone is going to be needed,” said the boss.

“There’s a good feeling about the group at the minute. They’re getting along, have big smiles on their faces, and the performance at Sheffield Wednesday pleased me.

“Even some of the kids that came on pleased me. In terms of some of the kids coming through, the long-term future is very positive.

“But the ‘here and now’ is that we’ve got a number of players that could be in contention for Saturday, as they got a good 90 minutes in a game against a competitive side.”

Phil Brown’s Shrimpers’ team arrive at One Call Stadium this weekend, having lost just one of their previous 10 league matches and our boss knows it will be a tough test for us.

“We saw when we went down [to Roots Hall] that Southend are a good side,” said Cox.

“I don’t think we covered ourselves in glory as we ended up with nine men by the end of the game, but give them credit – they are up there and you have to pat them on the back.

“The teams that are [near the top of the table] are up there because of their consistency, and the number of good players that they have got.

“So we know it’s going to be tough, but we’ve got 17 cup finals now. Ten of those games are at home and there’s a possible 30 points to play for at home, so we need everyone pulling in the same direction.”

On the continued search to bring a new striker to One Call Stadium on a loan deal, Cox added: “There’s a lot of hard work gone in and there’s been a little bit of progress.

“We’ve highlighted certain individuals and we’re talking to representatives at clubs, players, etcetera, but I’ll be honest, there’s not a lot happening at the minute.

“It’s really early days and we’re playing catch up, so we’ve just got to keep working hard and try to bring the right player in.”

He added: “As we’ve seen, players have gone here, there and everywhere [during the transfer window] and some players that we were following have signed for sides now.

“We’ve not got as much to play with, but we’re still working hard to try and make something happen.”


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