'We can take the game to Sunderland' says Southend boss ahead of crucial clash

Kevin Bond took charge of Southend last month.
Kevin Bond took charge of Southend last month.
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Southend manager Kevin Bond insists his side will take the game to Sunderland this weekend - with The Shrimpers battling to avoid relegation from League One.

Only goal difference separates Southend and relegation rivals Plymouth Argyle, who are placed below the dreaded drop line.

The Shrimpers had gone 11 games without a win before Bond took charge of the club on April 2.

Since then, the former Manchester City and Southampton defender has watched his side record one win, two draws and two defeats, while gaining encouragement from recent performances.

"We’ve turned in some good performances in the time that I’ve been here, and we should have more points than we have for various reasons, which would then make our situation a lot easier," said Bond. "It is difficult to come in and change that momentum that quickly.

"The team are in good spirit and no one’s walking round with impending doom, everyone’s fine and we will meet the game head on and try the best we can to take the game to Sunderland."

Despite missing out on automatic promotion, Sunderland could still finish third, or drop to fifth, in League One, which could impact the play-off semi-final fixtures.

Yet Bond hopes Southend's perilous situation will give them the edge on Saturday, against a Black Cats side which beat The Shrimpers 3-0 earlier in the season.

"They will have their own reasons for wanting to do well in the game but they aren’t as strong as our reasons for wanting to do well," said Bond.

On his players' motivation, he added: "They recognise what it’s going to take to do what we need to do and how we need to go about that.

"They don’t need me to tell them but they just need a bit of direction and hopefully a little bit of organisation, they know what’s at stake and that’s all the motivation that they will need and should need and I wouldn’t expect for them to be lacking on that front.