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HEART OF OAK; JOHNSTONE'S PAINT CREWE v SOUTHEND, 1.15PM TROPHY FINAL, TOMORROW Tomlin: I'll lift cup and dedicate it to Sturrock.

Byline: JAMES NURSEY

GAVIN TOMLIN Gavin Tomlin (born January 13 1983 in Gillingham, England) is a professional footballer currently playing for Fisher Athletic. Tomlin is a versatile player who can play on both left and right wings and as a striker  aims to fire Southend to glory and dedicate victory to Paul Sturrock Paul Whitehead Sturrock (born 10 October 1956 in Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland) is the current manager of Swindon Town and the former manager of Sheffield Wednesday, Southampton, Plymouth Argyle, Dundee United and St Johnstone. He was also a Scotland international footballer.  for inspiring his goal-scoring heroics.

Tomlin has excelled at Roots Hall Roots Hall is a multi-use stadium, primarily used for football games and is the home of the Coca Cola League One team Southend United. The capacity is 12,392, but a sell out crowd is often under 12,000.  with 16 goals since his ex-boss signed him last summer and played him up front in League Two.

It's the first time in his career he has been given a prolonged run as a striker after mainly playing out wide previously and his form has even kept Southend legend Freddy Eastwood Freddy Eastwood (born October 29, 1983 in Basildon, Essex)[1] is an English-born footballer, currently playing for Wolverhampton Wanderers. He is a Welsh International, eligible to play for the Welsh national football team as his maternal grandfather was born in  on the bench.

Tomlin, 28, was sad when Sturrock was axed last month but the top scorer is now also thriving under successor Phil Brown Phil Brown may refer to:
  • Phil Brown (actor)
  • Phil Brown (footballer born 1959)
  • Phil Brown (footballer born 1966)
.

And he plans to seek out Sturrock in Southend's 31,100 Wembley following and lift the Johnstone's Paint Trophy for his old boss.

Ahead of tomorrow's clash with League One Crewe, Tomlin said: "Paul Sturrock has been a big help for me this season. I texted him recently and thanked him.

"He showed a lot of faith in me. I went 13 league games without a goal at the beginning of the season. But even when I wasn't scoring, Sturrock kept me up front and it gave me a lot of confidence.

"It would have been easy for him with Fred on the bench to put him in the team - perhaps even easier.

"But he kept playing me and I owe him a lot. I was able to go on and score as many goals as I have. I am really thankful to him for that.

"Paul is going to Wembley with the fans he told me, so I will try and find him in the crowd and give him a wave if I score."

Despite being axed last month as Southend's promotion bid faltered, Sturrock was unusually still given the chance to take the team for tomorrow's showpiece show¬∑piece ¬†
n.
Something exhibited, especially as an outstanding example of its kind.


showpiece
Noun

1. anything displayed or exhibited

2.
.

But the proud Scot refused and Tomlin added: "It would have been really awkward for him to come back in. It would have been strange and surreal."

Tomlin will enjoy his day in the spotlight after a career in the lower leagues with Brentford, Yeovil, Dagenham & Redbridge, Torquay and Gillingham. And with his contract up this summer, he wants to put himself in the shop window.

He said: "It is definitely my best season so far. In other teams previously, I got pushed to the wings but my goal ratio up front was good for Torquay and Gillingham.

"I was happy to play on the wing for the team but your strengths can be your downfall sometimes.

"Now this game is a good platform for me to showcase my ability as a striker."

Tomlin's previous biggest match was the League Two play-off final for Torquay against Stevenage in 2011 at Old Trafford. He produced man-of-the-match displays against Shrewsbury in the two-legged semi but missed out on promotion.

Now he is desperate for his first medal - and to repay Sturrock.

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ROOTS OF SUCCESS Gavin Tomlin says he owes his form to Paul Sturrock (below)
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 6, 2013
Words:498
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