Sturrock: 'Being picky there's one area of the team I'd improve'; Pitman: 'Survival a key aim'
The Bulls of Hereford United. Both manager have their say before Southend United face the Bulls of Hereford United in their opening match of the new League Two season. Sturrock: 'I want everyone here to be involved in something special' Blues boss Paul Sturrock is in no doubt that this is a better prepared squad facing their opening League Two match this afternoon against Hereford United than the one that lined up for the game against Stockport County last season, 90 minutes that only saw a point rescued in the dying seconds with a late strike by son of Luggy Blair, unfit Saturday along with last season's top scorer Barry Corr. Then again that's not surprising a year after you made 17 signings in a few days to just make sure the club could complete the fixture! Sturrock told www.southendunited.co.uk: "We had a better pre-season than last year, it was more structured and better planned. I think the players are in better nick than this time last year from the tests we have done and we have steadily built up the games to look sharper." And on www.echo-news.co.uk Luggy made it clear he wants to Roots Hall faithful to back the team from the first whistle. Sturrock said: "Towards the end of last year the crowds were getting bigger again which was great to see and I hope that can continue this season too. It would be great if some of the fans who have been staying away for whatever reason decide to come back and that they can generate a good atmosphere inside the ground.That happened during the second half of the season when the fans' mentality towards the team changed and it was no coincidence the results also improved when that occurred. I want everyone here to be involved in something special, right from the chairman to the cleaners and the fans play a huge part in that too. I'd like to thank them for their backing, especially when things were difficult last season, and now we want them to have plenty to cheer this season." He also left a titbit at the end that there was still a piece in the jigsaw that would make the Shrimpers push for promotion even more promising, and of course he wouldn't tell the paper what position, but it's obvious a couple of players have to go before he can get someone in, Harry Crawford to Kettering would help, as would Matt Paterson finally finding another club. Luggy concluded: "Being picky there is still one area of the team I would like to improve by the end of August but we would need to get a few out before that could happen. I guess I'll never be entirely happy but hopefully I will be after Saturday's game. My teams never seem to start a season well and I would like to change that this time. But it's important to remember it's a marathon not a sprint and not to get too carried with whatever happens tomorrow." 'It's a marathon not a sprint', well Luggs, lucky for us, 'we take each game as it comes' Pitman: 'Number of players who do not fit taking a proportion of our budget' Meanwhile Bulls boss Jamie Pitman is hoping that after a near relegation experience last season that he helped turn around after the mess created by former manager Simon Davey, that the Hereford support keep their feet on the ground. Difficult, have you tried their cider?! Pitman told www.herefordtimes.com: "I really hope that the fans will be patient with us - last year was a very tough season and it will be tough again this time around. We have a number of players who do not fit into what I am trying to do. They are taking a proportion of our budget and do not figure in my plans and so it is frustrating that we are not able to freshen things up and do what we want to do. My hands are tied to some extent but I have to get on with it and accept that it's just the way it is. Accordingly, I hope that people will understand that we have learned things after last year but it remains a big transitional period for the club - what I need is to have the time and the patience allowed me to have an effect on the club." Fair enough, as long as it starts after the weekend, though the club's former physiotherapist was determined to remain confident. Pitman said: "We have a good enough squad to compete at a good level this year and must make sure that we keep everyone fit. If not, it will become very difficult. Survival is still a key aim - you do not go from being a relegation candidate to a play-off contender overnight. It may happen but we have to be realistic, make the most of what we have and try to use the loan market so that we can compete with the better teams in the division. With the majority of our performances last year, we showed that we are capable of doing that." So where do you think the Shrimpers finish this season? VOTE HERE: www.southendunited-mad.co.uk
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