Southend United vs Oxford United
League One football returns to Roots Hall after a month-long absence as Southend United welcome Pep Clotet’s Oxford United side tomorrow afternoon.
Blues will be glad to be back at Roots Hall where they are unbeaten in eight league games and will also be buoyed by the fact that they have only lost one of their last 17 meetings with Oxford.
Oxford head to Roots Hall following a poor recent run of form which has seen them pick up just one win in their last eight in all competitions.
Despite this, Oxford go into the weekend above Southend in the table in 8th, five points outside of the play-off places and two points ahead of Phil Brown’s Blues.
Southend United: DLWLWW
Oxford United: LWLLLL
14th February 2017: Oxford United 0 vs 2 (Fortune, Robinson) Southend United
6th December 2016: Southend United (Wordsworth) 1 vs 1 (Maguire) Oxford United (3-4 on Pens)
27th September 2016: Southend United (Leonard, Wordsworth) 2 vs 1 (Hemmings) Oxford United
Southend are hopeful that Marc-Antoine Fortune will be fit after his hamstring injury picked up against MK Dons in midweek doesn’t appear to be as bad as first thought.
Also back in contention is fellow striker Nile Ranger after he missed Tuesday’s trip due to a ‘disciplinary procedure’ but Phil Brown has said he will be in the squad.
Brown though is still waiting on the fitness of Michael Timlin, Stephen McLaughlin and Michael Kightly, but Anthony Wordsworth is expected to be available again.
Oxford United will be without defender Christian Ribiero after the 27-year-old was forced to retire due to a long-term knee problem.
Defender Curtis Nelson and striker Rob Hall will also be missing for Oxford due to Achilles and knee problems respectively, whilst Jack Payne is set to face his former club.
Phil Brown, Southend United Manager:
“It’s always nice to come home, of course, it is. And especially when we’ve gone all season without a defeat, apart from in a cup competition.
“I’m looking forward to it, I’m certain the crowd should be and certainly the players should be.
“There is a lot of talk about Jack [Payne] coming back, which is rightly so because he’s a lovely kid. He served his time here. But he came to the end of his contract and moved onto pastures new.”
Pep Clotet, Oxford United Manager;
“It’s a good opportunity for us against a Southend side who we know did very well last season and fought for the play-offs all season, and right now have the best home form in the league. So that’s the challenge for us, to be the first to win there, although we know it will be very difficult.
“We have to build on the performance at Plymouth and there were positives against a strong Blackburn side on Tuesday as well, so we have to use bits of both games against Southend.
“At the same time, although I was not happy with the result at all I was happy to see unity between the players and the fans.”
Tickets are available online, from the ticket office or by calling 08444 770077.