Fleetwood Town vs Southend United...
Kevin Bond takes charge of his first game as Blues boss tomorrow afternoon as he takes his new charges up to Lancashire to take on Fleetwood Town at Highbury Stadium.
Following a run of 12 games without a win, Southend remain outside the relegation zone by the proverbial skin of their teeth and will be hoping game 13 will be their lucky number.
Their opponents Fleetwood will be having other ideas as they cling on to hopes of sneaking into the play-off spots with the Cod Army currently eight points off the top six with seven games to play.
Back-to-back wins over Plymouth and Accrington have kept Joey Barton’s side in the hunt and they’ll not want to easily let slip a potentially vital three points in their push for promotion.
Fleetwood Town: WWLLDW
Southend United: LLLLDL
22nd September 2018: Southend United (Cox) 1 vs 0 Fleetwood Town
13th January 2018: Southend United (Kightly) 1 vs 2 (Diagouraga, Madden) Fleetwood Town
23rd September 2017: Fleetwood Town (Bell, Cole) 2 vs 4 (Cox, McLaughlin, Ranger, McGlashan) Southend United
Striker Stephen Humphrys returned to training this week for Blues after recovering from a series of facial injuries but he’s unlikely to feature at the weekend as he continues to return to fitness.
Youngster Emile Acquah will hope to build on his first Southend start last weekend by partnering Simon Cox up front as Blues look to end a run of three games without scoring.
Defender Harry Lennon is available again after getting through 45 minutes of the reserves’ game in midweek while Taylor Moore, who wasn’t selected last weekend, is also an option at the back.
Fleetwood are expected to be without Rangers loanee Jason Holt after he picked up a knee injury in their win over Accrington while Ryan Taylor continues to be missing with a broken nose.
Experienced midfielder Dean Marney is a doubt with a calf injury, despite returning to training, along with James Wallace who is working his way back from a hamstring/knee problem.
Kevin Bond, Southend United Manager:
“We need to try and get through the game without conceding a goal, get a point, get three points, give ourselves something to build from if we can. It’s a process that we aren’t going to be good or great overnight, it’s going to be a gradual thing.
“While they’re all good lads and they’re all together, it’s human nature that a run of poor results becomes wary. We need to address that, get something from somewhere in our next game and build from that to get the lads confident.
“We are capable of better than where we are but it won’t just be somebody coming in and that makes everyone confident, it’s a process.”
Joey Barton, Fleetwood Town Manager:
“They have some quality performers in their squad and we expect them to be different this time around with the new manager at the helm. We went down to their place earlier in the season and lost so we have a great opportunity to put that right this weekend.
“The focus is on us on Saturday as we are where we are in the league for a reason. It can really give us a boost in our play-off push, however, we know it is a long shot. I still don’t think there’s pressure on us because there are sides up there with points on the board. We do have a chance to put that right, we still believe as we are coming into form at the right time.”
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