Let’s Get Back on Track

After a recent poor run of results, Jack Ross is keen to end the season on a positive at Southend and also boost our play off chances. “I don’t know if it’s a huge advantage, but I think all the teams involved in the play-offs would prefer to play the second leg (of the semi-final) at home. We would prefer that to be the case. It would help in terms of the semi-final, and it would also mean we’ve finished in either third or fourth position. There is a big incentive for us to do that. If we don’t, it won’t be the end of the world and it won’t be the determining factor of what happens in the semi-final. But we would prefer that to be the case. When I started my coaching career, I was the assistant at Dumbarton and we were promoted via the play-offs,” he said. “The play-off system is slightly different in Scotland, but we finished third and ended up getting promoted via the play-offs. So I’ve been involved. It was a slightly different format because it was a two-legged semi-final and a two-legged final, but I do have a bit of play-off experience there. In terms of a motivation, what happened in the last game at Wembley will become more of a focus if we get through the semi-final stage,” added Ross. “But with having been there already this season, the players are probably aware of what it all entails without us having to emphasise it. They know how big an occasion the last game was to play in, so they know that’s a prize for getting back there. Maybe in some ways, it’s good that the players have already been there this season. The prize for us is very clear, and it’s not about getting the chance to play at Wembley because we’ve already done that. The prize is about getting promoted, not Wembley. We’ve already been there this season – the final could be played anywhere and we’d be quite happy to be involved in it.”

In other news, Chris Maguire is sounding pretty honest and focused going into the final game. “Tuesday was another opportunity that went past us and that’s been the story for the last while,” he said. We can’t capitalise when we are on top and we only have ourselves to blame. We know where we are and where our season has gone and it’s up to us to put it right. We didn’t take our chances and we conceded sloppy goals. We can’t give goals away like what we did when we are on the front foot and leading games. We are disappointed, but we have got to pick ourselves up and make big improvements for the play-offs.”