Southend United 'jigsaw coming together'
Southend United boss Paul Sturrock has said he has finally pulled together a side capable of climbing the table.
Tuesday's 4-0 win at AFC Wimbledon lifted them to within a point of the League Two play-offs.
"The jigsaw pieces are starting to fit together now," former Swindon boss Sturrock told BBC Essex.
Southend unbeaten run
- 27 Oct: Southend 0-0 York (league)
- Southend 3-0 Stockport (FA Cup)
- 6 Nov: Bristol R 2-3 Southend (league)
- 10 Nov: Southend 0-0 Port Vale (league)
- 17 Nov: Torquay 1-4 Southend (league)
- 20 Nov: AFC Wimbledon 0-4 Southend (league)
Southend are on a six-game unbeaten run, have scored four goals in each of their last two away matches and conceded once in three outings.
Sturrock, 56, has pointed to the form of centre-back pairing Mark Phillips and Chris Barker, combined with the battling attributes of holding midfielder Tamika Mkandawire, for the Shrimper's defensive strength in recent games.
"Phillips and Barker have got confidence from results lately, as has Tamika in front," he said.
"People forget he does a very quiet, but very important role for us. He's always biting and scratching to help defend in front of the back four."
Tuesday's triumph followed a 4-1 victory at Torquay at the weekend, taking Southend's tally of away wins this season to five - compared with just three at Roots Hall.
"In the last two home [league] games we've scored no goals. So this will be the key Saturday," added Sturrock.
"We've got to come up with something. If we can put some results in at home and continue with our away form we'll start careering up the league."