Southend boss PHil Brown preapres to face the U's knowing that Pep Clotet's side play a pateint brand of football. He told the Southend Echo: “They pass it for passing’s sake at times but they have a threat. We will have to be patient and the supporters will need to understand that Oxford are going to have plenty of the ball.
“We need to stay disciplined and committed to our defending and then create chances like we did at MK Dons (a 1-1 draw on Tuesday). “That’s a recipe for success.”
Striker Nile Ranger was left out of the midweek game after time-keeping issues but Brown said
“Nile’s trained like a man possessed and he will be in the squad if he turns up on time on Friday,” Brown said. “I think we should get a static home for him on the training ground because he couldn’t be late then.“But Nile has taken charge of the situation by moving into the area.”
Brown is very aware of the threat that Jack Payne poses for the U's as the former SOuthend striker returns for his first game back at Roots Hall
“There is a lot of talk about Jack coming back" Brown said "which is rightly so because he’s a lovely kid. He served his time here. But he came to the end of his contract and moved on to pastures new. We wished him well at the time, and we still wish him well apart from on Saturday because he’s in the oppositions team.
Brown continued: “Is he a threat? Of course, he is. His assists tell you that, being the league’s leader in assists. But a lot of people think Jack has scored a lot of goals, but he’s got two league goals this season.
“Do I need to pay special attention to him when he’s on the ball? Of course, you do because he’s a creative player. They have other players in the team that do finish off the moves that Jack creates.
“But more importantly, it’s the form of my players in front of goal that is more important to me. When we’ve done our defensive duties, which we have been doing of late quite capable, it’s in front of goal that I want players to relax and put the ball in the back of the net”