Southend United vs Gillingham...
Chris Powell’s Southend United will be hoping to start the New Year with a bang as they host Kent-rivals Gillingham at Roots Hall this afternoon.
Blues are coming off the back of a disappointing defeat at Coventry but will be confident against their near-neighbours having won 2-0 at Priestfield in the reverse fixture back in October.
Gills make the short trip over the river also following a defeat, losing 3-1 at home to Doncaster, but they’ll be buoyed by the return of their top goalscorer, Tom Eaves.
Steve Lovell’s side had been unbeaten in nine games against Blues prior to last year and they’ll be looking for a positive result that will help steer them further away from the drop zone.
Southend United: LWLWLD
13th October 2018: Gillingham 0 vs 2 (Cox 2) Southend United
2nd April 2018: Southend United (Turner, Robinson, Kightly, McLaughlin) 4 vs 0 Gillingham
29th August 2017: Gillingham (Parker, Ferdinand OG) 2 vs 1 (McLaughlin) Southend United
Harry Bunn is back in contention for a starting spot after coming off the bench late in Southend’s defeat against Coventry on Saturday having missed the previous three games.
Nathan Bishop is expected to make his fourth straight start in goal with Blues number one Mark Oxley still nursing a back injury picked up in training.
Defenders Jason Demetriou and Harry Lennon are nearing returns, while Ben Coker, Harry Kyprianou, Sam Barratt and Tom Hopper remain out long term.
Gillingham’s main target-man Tom Eaves is likely to start against Blues after he returned from the bench against Doncaster having been unavailable for two games with a thigh injury.
Barry Fuller and Dean Parrett both picked up knocks on Saturday and are expected to miss out along with Max Ehmer, with Steve Lovell saying he’ll mix things up after a congested Christmas period.
Chris Powell, Southend United Manager:
“I’ve had a home game last season and the away game this year [against Gillingham] and I’ve done okay against them, and I want to do that again, so we’ll see.
“They’ve lost on Saturday so they’ll be looking to bounce back so it’ll be quite a lively game and let’s hope 2019 starts in our favour.”
Steve Lovell, Gillingham Manager:
“I think I will mix it up again on Tuesday. There are a few players that look a bit jaded.
“We have players in the squad who have been waiting to have a go and let’s give them the opportunity, let’s see what they can do.
“Hopefully we don’t give Southend the three goals like we did on Saturday. You can’t give anybody goals, that is what we did and that is what is disappointing.”