Shrimpers head to Portugal

Southend are hoping a warm weather training camp in Portugal will heat up their promotion charge.

The Shrimpers flew out to mainland Europe on Sunday morning for a four-day stint which boss Phil Brown hopes will boost the Essex club's chances of enjoying a strong finish to the season.

Southend tasted a first league defeat in nine games at the weekend as they were undone 2-1 by Mansfield, slipping to seventh place in League Two although they remain just four points adrift of the automatic promotion places.

Brown told the club's official website: "The main reason for this trip was to be able to get outside in good weather and train on the grass, which has been difficult recently.

"We had a really good hour-and-a-half training session on Monday morning and all the players worked extremely hard.

"When we first arrived the weather wasn't as we'd hoped, but we had a day in the gym having played on Saturday and spent some time in the pool doing recovery work.

"All the players know we are here to work hard and they've certainly shown that in the first couple of days."