Steve: Let's Be Shrewd

Steve Lomas concedes that expectations for the coming campaign are going to be high - but he feels they can be matched if the right players come in before the transfer deadline.

"It is well documented that the squad is a bit light and five or six players have been released on free transfers and whatever so that is something that maybe needs addressing.

"But we have the nucleus of a good young team here, so if we can hang on to all the players and maybe add a few more that can add something positive to the team.

"Last season started off quite badly and finished off quite well so expectations will have gone to a higher level.

"People are shouting about Europe but it is about what we place on ourselves, and we are looking to push that top six.

"I'm not saying it will be easy, but hopefully we can, and also do well in one of the cups."

The club skipper will be delighted to welcome back the England World Cup trio for the friendly at Colchester on Friday evening, and give his congratulations to Trevor Sinclair especially.

"He got in the squad through last minute injuries and did very well after seizing his chance - he put in a very good performance against Argentina," says Steve.

"It will have been a good experience for the other two as well, but especially for young Joe - at least he can say that he played there.

"As for David, it is difficult with the goalkeeper situation because you have to keep your concentration and you never know when you are going to be called on.

"It is not as easy to dislodge a goalkeeper whereas with an outfield player it changes quite regularly."

Steve plays his second summer game at Southend on Tuesday night, and adds: "We have had a couple of weeks now so it is going along nicely. Leyton Orient was the first game so it is always a bit difficult playing your first 45 minutes trying to get in the swing of things again.

"The mood is very good and the lads are all decent - we are looking forward to the new season."