New Colchester United manager Kevin Keen wants more solidity from his side against local rivals Southend United, his first match in charge.
Keen's side are bottom of League One, having leaked 55 league goals.
"We need to make sure defensively we are tighter and at the same time express ourselves," he told BBC Essex.
"If it means we lose a fraction going forward that might have to be so. The only priority is to win against Southend, Gillingham, then Oldham."
The U's take on a Shrimpers side who are just one place outside the play-off places having won promotion from League Two last season.
Southend boss Phil Brown, who takes charge of his first Essex derby match, said: "We're preparing for this game the same as any other game.
"The importance of it is the fact that we're knocking at the door of the play-offs and they're bottom of the league, and they'll be smarting from that.
"It's a massive game for both clubs - it's a local derby and we just want to give it our best shot."
Keen took his first permanent role in management by replacing Tony Humes at the Weston Homes Community Stadium on Monday after leaving his post as Reading assistant manager earlier in December.
"It's a fantastic game to come in to," added the former Stoke player. "I went to Southend on Friday and was really impressed with them, in the first half especially.
"It's a great challenge for the players and myself to get our teeth into.
"And I think it's tremendous there will be a full house and I hope the Colchester fans get behind the team because we're currently sitting bottom of the league.
"It's time for the true supporter to stand up and say 'come on, we're behind you, let's get going'."