Tilson relishes underdog role for Tottenham tussle

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The Independent Football

Giant-killing is what cup competitions were made for but the extent of Southend's ability to claim yet another Premiership scalp will be tested to the extreme tonight in their Carling Cup quarter-final.

The Essex side beat the holders, Manchester United, in the last round, but home advantage and the cramped confines of the 12,200-capacity Roots Hall stadium certainly helped. Now the wider spaces of White Hart Lane beckon for Steve Tilson's men.

Spurs have found home an extremely comfortable place to be this season. After a shaky start, including a defeat and a draw, Martin Jol's side are now on a run of 10 consecutive home wins. In their last four games they have scored 13 goals and let in only four.

Naturally, Tilson is using those statistics to further boost his side's underdog status, something that comes naturally anyway, given that the Shrimpers are bottom of the Championship.

"It will be a difficult game," he says. "They're flying at the moment. But there's no pressure on us, we can go and enjoy it and I'm sure the lads will give their all. In the League there is always pressure, but we're not expected to win this one so all the pressure will be on them."

Assuming Jol sticks to his strongest attacking line-up, there will be plenty of pressure on Efe Sodje, the Southend central defender, as he will face one of the Premiership's most in-form strikers, Dimitar Berbatov.

Sodje, 34, has experience of playing at the very top, having featured in the 2002 World Cup for Nigeria and he will be calling on everything he has learned to combat the Bulgarian, who has scored four goals in his last four games.

He said: "We know what Spurs are all about because we've seen them enough on TV. We'll just go and play our own game. We're confident we can beat them just like we're confident we can get off the bottom of the League."

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