Southend United’s prospects for the coming season

With the new League Two season approaching Paul Sturrock is working hard in building a strong team aiming for Promotion.

After taking over the reign from Steve Tilson in July 2010 Paul had a lot of pressure to win over the Southend United faithful after the sacking of Tilson came as a shock to many.

With only five first team players on the books at United, Sturrock had a lot of work to do and he seemed to relish the prospect of putting his own stamp on the team making numerous signings.

With a full squad of players the task doesn’t seem too daunting for Paul; however it could be harder than last year with many fans expecting promotion whether it would be automatic of play-offs even with the quality of teams being higher this year.

The signing of Neil Harris is a coup for a club of Southend’s calibre especially considering he was playing in the Championship for Millwall and his goal scoring record talks for itself.  There had been many whispers within the stands of Harris signing considering he is a local lad and hasn’t denied he comes to watch The Blue’s any possibility he has, but with the money problems circulating around the club for the past couple of years many people didn’t believe it would actually happen.

Another shock to the club is the departure of Captain Craig Easton after he turned down a new contract offer and has now left Roots Hall. Craig came into the club during the summer of last year after previously being managed by Paul at Swindon Town and they both seemed eager to continue their football relationship in the South East but something obviously went downhill when it came to contract discussions and Craig seemed to think it would be best to leave the club.

A player Paul has brought in to ‘replace’ Easton is promising midfielder Alassane N’Diaye on a season long loan from Crystal Palace, N’Diaye is only 21 years of age and at 6’5” he is going to have a huge presence in the centre of the park with the likes of Anthony Grant. One thing Southend don’t have to worry about is N’Diaye experience even at his young age he has managed to play over 37 games for Palace and also spending time on loan at Swindon in League One.

Many fans felt the squad needed a winger to help push the club up the League’s and the Blues managed to bring in American Jemal Johnson to the club after he had a six month stint in Bulgaria with Lokomotiv Sofia where he made 11 appearances contributing to one goal which gave the team a place in the Europa League. Johnson will have no problems in the English League after plying his trade with numerous clubs including Blackburn Rovers and Wolverhampton Wanderers. He also managed to lift the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy with MK Dons which obviously meant a lot to him has he has already stated he wants to have the same success with United.

The squad seems to be getting stronger by the day and Southend United have a real opportunity of making their way up the league if they can manage to be consistent and produce the results they need against the likes of recently relegated Bristol Rovers and Swindon.