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O'Neil: "It's onto Tuesday now, we can’t dwell on it"

17 October 2016

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Liam O’Neil played 90 minutes on his return to the first team after a seven month injury lay off but was disappointed not to come away with at least a point from Roots Hall.

The 23 year-old came in for Liam Graham for Saturday’s 1-0 defeat - where Shrimpers defender Adam Thompson scored the only goal - and was pleased to be return despite the result.

“It was good to get back but frustrating the result didn’t go our way in a game where I think nothing really separated the two teams,” he said. 

“It was physical, it was direct but we knew that coming down here. It was a poor goal that we’ve conceded from a second phase set play and we gave ourselves a difficult part in the game to get back.” He added. 

Despite being out injured, O’Neil has been in and around the dressing room, offering support and having a positive impact on his team-mates but it’s on the pitch where he wants to offer to the team the best he can.

He said: “You’ve just got to be supportive in the dressing room and be positive and go from there. I’m glad to be back, my fitness wasn’t brilliant especially in the last ten minutes I was struggling a bit, but it’s something to build on and hopefully we can pick up some results.

“It wasn’t my best performance, I felt a bit rusty but I can’t use that as an excuse. The gaffer’s put faith in me and I’ve got to go out there and give everything. It's onto Tuesday now, we can’t dwell on it.” 

The former West Bromwich Albion man played in a practice game last week and had 45 minutes for the reserves before his return so hasn’t had too much game time to be fully match sharp, but he doesn’t blame fitness for today’s result. 

O’Neil said: “I’ve done a lot of work with Mal and Rodger so I felt like I could come in and help the team, it’s up to the gaffer really. Seven months is a long time, but I can’t use that as an excuse we’ve lost the game today and it’s a disappointing loss."

Southend edged it on the day although the Spireites had enough opportunities in the second half to get back on level terms. O’Neil admitted the overriding disappointment and that there’s plenty of reflection on what must be done for the team to do better but he also saw the positives that can be taken from the game.

“It means a lot to everyone in that dressing room. Quite a lot of fans have come down today and it means a lot to them as well so you’ve got to think about the game and how you can improved and also the good parts of the game,” he said. 

"I thought we created a lot in the second half. We had two clear cut chances from Tom Anderson and we’ve done well to get on them but we should score. We’ve had one cleared off the line after good play from Gboly (Ariyibi) so we’ve got positives to take but we were second best to every ball and sort of didn’t want to take responsibility. By then we were 1-0 down and gave ourselves a difficult place in the game.

“The manager wants more from us which is what is expected. We should have got at least a draw from the game, these things happen and we have to go again. If the manager wants me to play I’ll be available 100%.” 

The Spireites have back-to-back home games to look forward to with Fleetwood Town on Tuesday night and Scunthorpe United on Saturday.

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