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Whitney hails Oztumer's work ethic

27 October 2017

Boss Jon Whitney has hailed the work-rate of playmaker Erhun Oztumer.

The 26-year-old was deployed in an unfamiliar right midfield role against Doncaster last weekend but scored twice in a 3-0 win, taking his season tally to seven.

The ex-Peterborough man has scored some spectacular goals during his time with the club, including a sublime 25-yard free-kick in our last home match against Blackpool.

And while Oztumer may grab the headlines for his goals, Whitney has been equally pleased with his effort and work ethic.

“If you look at his second goal against Doncaster, he chased back in and dispossessed their player in our half,” said the boss.

“It allowed Joe to break and he stayed alongside Joe as a wing man. Joe lays it off and he gets his goal.

“There’s probably a 100-120 metre shift there from Erhun which people don’t see. He actually made his own goal.

“It’s quite deceptive how much distance he covers – he also does a really good press and stops players getting out.

“You have to be able physically to do what we ask – and they can.”

Whitney will be hoping Oztumer is on song again when Phil Brown’s Southend visit the Banks’s tomorrow.

The Shrimpers sit one point and one place above the Saddlers, having won five, drawn five and lost five of their 15 league games.

Brown’s men missed out on the play-offs by a point last term and are expected to challenge for the top six again.

And Whitney is anticipating a tough match against the Blues – but insists his focus is on his own team.

“They’re a team who are expecting to be around the play-offs – Phil Brown has come out in the papers and said that this week,” he said.

“They’re similar to us – unbeaten at home, indifferent away. They got a good 1-0 win against Bury, with a late goal from Ryan Leonard.

“He’s got strength in depth. They’ve got experience with Anton Ferdinand at the back, Phil’s raving about Leonard in midfield.

“They’ve got pace in the wide areas and an abundance of talent up top with Nile Ranger, Marc Antoine Fortune, Simon Cox and Theo Robinson.

“He’s got a lot he can pick from and we’ve got to make sure we’ve got our shop in order.

“They’ll be a true test for us, like everybody has been, but we’ve got to concentrate on ourselves.”


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