Jack Ross has finally admitted that our recent form of 6 points from 18 in the last 6 games is not acceptable. “It’s not good enough,” he said. “We can’t keep having spells in games and creating opportunities but not taking them. We can’t get ourselves ahead in games and not capitalise on that. I have been protective of the players all season, but we have to be stronger. We have to cope with things better and there has to be a really quick and sharp understanding of that if we want to get out of this league this season. The results over the past five or so games have cost us that opportunity to go up automatically. They have to be stronger physically. You can’t be aggressive in parts of your play or when it suits. You have to be aggressive all the time. You can’t pick or chose your moments to be aggressive and we didn’t do it well enough in the second half. The group of players who travel with us to Southend United better be at it. We are going to have some big games coming up and if we win them, we achieve promotion. That’s the simple reality. There will be no shortage of motivation for every single one of them on Saturday.”
However, Ross will not make wholesale changes against Southend on Saturday. "Partly, there are guidelines about the changes you can make - and rightly so, because you have to be respectful of the whole league and Southend are in a position where they have a lot to play for," said Ross. "Also, I've got a squad that has a lot to play for as well because they will want to be involved in these play-off games. We've got some bumps and bruises from the Fleetwood game, as you can imagine, and there are some players who have played a lot this month, so we will have to take that into consideration. But we will play the strongest team we possibly can."
In other news, Lewis Morgan is determined to end the season on a high and bounce back from recent disappointments: “Whoever you play in the play-offs will be a tough game,” said Morgan. “We want to finish the season as strongly as we can and get third place but we need to beat whoever we get in the play-offs to go up, so we need to focus on ourselves and make sure we do our business. We’re going to try to finish the season as positively as we can. In football if you can get that momentum behind you teams are hard to stop. And although we've only got one game between now and the play-offs we really do need to go out and win it. “I would urge the fans to keep backing us. The players don’t take that for granted, that's one thing. They turned out in their numbers at Fleetwood, they were brilliant, and they have every right to be disappointed. There's two ways to look at it. You need a season of consolidation sometimes. We've gone down twice and the manager's steadied the ship but now we really do need to kick on. I know people from the outside might say the play-offs is a good season but we want a great season. We want to get out of this division no matter how it comes. "There's still a great chance to do that so there's no reason to have our chins on the floor. We need to puff our chests out and keep going Everyone just needs to be behind each other. It starts at Southend because we want to be heading into the play-offs on the back of a win. We're potentially four games away from promotion and then these games are forgotten about. What we can't do is forget the feeling of defeat and make sure that drives us on. I've worked with him for two years now and I've got nothing but positive words to say about him,” added Morgan. “I would ask that everyone as a club is behind each other – that doesn't just mean the manager, that means players as well because he's a great manager at this club and he's proven in the past he can get up leagues. When we step over the white line that's our job. He can only prepare us so much. It's been us as players. I'm of the opinion that it's our fault we've not been putting games to bed and that's something we need to look at as players. We will have a chat through the week as a team. We've still got a great chance so we've got to be optimistic and keep pushing on. We wanted to take it to the last day but we've not been able to do that. Now our sole focus is on the play-offs and there's a great chance for us to go up. Everyone needs to be together at the club. Strong words were said in the dressing room after Fleetwood. Fans turned out in great numbers and we didn't do them justice. I know we started the game well and got the goal. We spoke at half-time about sloppiness maybe creeping in and we needed to make sure that didn't happen in the second half. The reaction wasn't there, really. I don't think it was through a lack of effort but what we need to do now is be more ruthless when we are on top of teams. We've still got a great chance of going up and we're going to need everyone – we need all the fans. They have every right to be sore, everyone at the club is, but we need everyone at the club behind the team."