Tilson praises class Eastwood

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Southend boss Steve Tilson was full of praise for Freddy Eastwood after watching his chief marksman fire his side to a first ever Championship victory.

Making their Championship bow Tilson's side were value for their victory over Stoke at Roots Hall, with Eastwood's penalty - his 50th goal for the club - enough to give Southend a winning start to life in the second tier of English football.

Eastwood's goals have arguably been the single most important factor in back-to-back promotions for Southend and his current taskmaster Tilson admits other clubs may soon be knocking on his door.

"If Freddy has scored 10 or 15 goals by Christmas, then Premiership clubs will be knocking on the door," Tilson said. "He can score goals at any level.

"We have had a couple of enquiries from Championship clubs, but that would be a sideways step for him.

"Freddy is happy here, and the club do not want to sell him - which is good news for me.

"He is difficult to mark, and on another day he could have had two or three goals.

''He can still work harder, but if he does - and that side of his game is improving - he will become an even better player.

"It was like the land of the giants at times against Stoke, but we stuck at it well.

"We played very well in the first half, but in the second half we looked a bit nervous and we could have kept the ball better."

While Tilson was delighted at his side's exertions in adjusting to life at a higher level, the game was overshadowed somewhat by an incident involving Stoke wide man Luke Chadwick.

The former Manchester United man, who has since been taken to hospital and confirmed as being stable, left the field with an oxygen mask after falling unconscious.

"Luke was unconscious, and he was still in that state when they were taking him to hospital," confirmed Stoke boss Tony Pulis.

"They revived him on the pitch, but then he fell unconscious again. I don't know what led to it - but it is a great concern.

"We had enough chances to win the game, and I can't fault their effort."