Defender reflects on point gained on the seaside and praises the 560 fans who made the 500-mile round trip to back the side at Roots Hall.
- Barnett: “We appreciate the brilliant support.”
- Defender pleased to make first league start since last month’s draw at Bradford City.
- 30-year-old believes Latics will look at Southend point positively come the end of the campaign.
Barnett, who celebrates his 30th birthday today, says the backing from the fans was brilliant and that the players are thoroughly appreciative of the support they are receiving this season.
“I spoke to one of the supporters before the game and they said it only took them three-and-a-half hours, so they did well!” Barnett joked.
“We really appreciate the support, over 500 going to Southend is brilliant and we heard them throughout.
The match itself was fast-paced but conditions didn’t allow either side to get the ball down and play and most of the opportunities to score came from set-pieces.
Barnett was twice denied on the goal-line by the Shrimpers’ back-line whilst he hit the crossbar in stoppage time when a Max Power corner travelled through a number of bodies before hitting the former Norwich City man at close range.
Reflecting afterwards, Barnett rued his luck but admitted his delight at keeping a second consecutive Sky Bet League One away clean sheet.
“I was quite happy to get into the positions to get the chance to score but unfortunately they had players on the line to stop them,” Barnett said.
“I think myself and Pearcey [Jason Pearce] knew what we were in for in terms of the amount of balls Southend would put into the box; clearing the ball and winning duels is our strength so we were happy with the clean sheet and credit has to go to the defence as a whole for the work we put in.
“Nobody wants to lose twice in a row, especially after we had been on such a good run, so we knew the importance of not losing at Southend and personally I think it is a good achievement to come down to Southend and get a draw and a clean sheet, especially with the form they have been in. Come the end of the season, we may well look back at that as a good point so we take this point and go on to the next game.
Barnett racked up his 88th appearance in all competitions for Latics at the weekend, a figure that leaves him at the top of the club’s appearances chart out of the current crop of players.
However, Saturday was Barnett’s first league start since October’s 1-1 draw at Bradford City, and the defender hopes the clean sheet will give Gary Caldwell a selection headache in the build-up to Christmas.
“I was obviously pleased to come back into the team,” Barnett added. “I have kept my head down, worked hard in training and then in the match put in the hard work that everyone wants from me and hopefully I have taken my chance and given the gaffer something to think about.”
Leon Barnett is sponsored by: