Southend United vs Barnsley...
Blues are back in front of the Sky Sports cameras for the second home game in a row as they entertain Barnsley at Roots Hall tomorrow afternoon.
Last time out at home, Southend engineered a scarcely believable comeback against Portsmouth and Blues will hope to end their six-game winless run by going one better against the Tykes.
To do so they’ll need to put a dent in Barnsley’s push for automatic promotion, with the visitors currently on a 14-game unbeaten run in the league which stretches back to December.
And if Barnsley are to keep pace with Luton at the summit and keep Sunderland at bay below, they will need to complete a hat-trick of victories against Chris Powell’s side this season.
Southend United: DDLDLL
1st December 2018: Southend United (Mantom, Dieng) 2 vs 4 (Moore, Woodrow 2, Bahre) Barnsley
3rd November 2018: Barnsley (Moore) 1 vs 0 Southend United
12th March 2016: Barnsley 0 vs 2 (Payne, Timlin) Southend United
Chris Powell is waiting to hear the extent of the damage caused to striker Stephen Humphrys after he suffered a series of facial injuries in last weekend’s draw against Accrington.
His absence leaves Simon Cox as Blues’ only senior striking option, although Southend will have midfielder Dru Yearwood available again following a three-game ban.
Luke Hyam, Harry Bunn and Rob Kiernan all played 60-minutes in midweek for the u23s so will be pushing for a place in the squad, while Michael Kightly also returned to training in midweek.
Barnsley received a huge blow this week as top scorer Kieffer Moore was ruled out for the rest of the season, having not played since picking up a concussion against Gillingham three weeks ago.
In-form Cauley Woodrow though has been an able deputy for Moore, scoring five goals in his last seven matches. Defender Ben Williams is the Tykes’ only other injury absentee.
Chris Powell, Southend United Manager:
“Our last home game was against one of the sides up there and what a turnaround that was. I’m sure most people in the position we were in would have felt that it was game over, but the attitude and never-say-die spirit was terrific.
“We need that again from the start. I don’t think we need to be in that position too often that we were in against Portsmouth, but it was brilliant for us and good for the mindset.
“We know now when facing someone like Barnsley we have to be ready from the start and really get going. We don’t need scares like we’ve had to get ourselves going, because ultimately you can’t keep doing it.”
Dale Tonge, Barnsley Assistant Head Coach:
“They’ve clearly got resilience and outstanding individuals in terms of Cox, who is a wily old pro, you’d call him now – I know he’s had a bit of fun on Twitter about that with a Sky Sports presenter.
“He’s a class act, especially for this level, and it’s been demonstrated with his goals and assists and he’s an integral part of their team.
“The position they are in the table I think, given a fully fit squad, they wouldn’t be there; the squad that they have got is capable of being in the play-offs, in my opinion. I think they’ve been unfortunate with circumstances in their squad this year.”