Southend United vs Sunderland...
Southend’s battle for survival comes to a head tomorrow afternoon as they host Sunderland at Roots Hall knowing that a win will secure their League One status.
With Plymouth and Scunthorpe playing each other, Blues know a defeat will see them go down while a draw is only good enough if Argyle and the Iron draw also and Walsall fail to win.
Sunderland travel to Essex having lost the chance of gaining automatic promotion thanks to their midweek defeat to Fleetwood, but the Black Cats still have plenty to play for ahead of the play-offs.
Jack Ross’ side will at least want to maintain home advantage in the 2nd leg by finishing fourth, however, finishing third could give them a potentially easier tie against the team finishing sixth.
Southend United: LWDLDL
27th October 2018: Sunderland (Honeyman, Maguire, McGeady) 3 vs 0 Southend United
27th February 2007: Sunderland (Connolly, Hysen, John 2) 4 vs 0 Southend United
19th August 2006: Southend United (Barrett 2, Bradbury) 3 vs 1 (Stead) Sunderland
Defender Elvis Bwomono and midfielder Timothee Dieng are in line to make their 50th appearances for Blues this weekend if selected against the Black Cats.
Harry Bunn is an injury doubt for Saturday having picked up a calf problem against Rochdale, as is Luke Hyam who was replaced after little over 10 minutes against the Dale with a hamstring problem.
Harry Lennon is expected to be back in training this week while a lack of striking options may force Kevin Bond to bring in Stephen Humphrys who’s missed the last few games due to a lack of fitness.
Sunderland have “two or three concerns” following Tuesday night’s defeat to Fleetwood but they expect Aiden McGeady to be unavailable as he continues his recovery from a broken foot.
Striker Charlie Wyke returned to training this week having missed the last two games as Jack Ross prepares to potentially rest a number of players ahead of the play-offs.
Kevin Bond, Southend United Manager:
“We’ve turned in some good performances in the time that I’ve been here and we should have more points than we’ve got, for various reasons, which would make the situation a little bit different.
“It is difficult to come in and change that momentum quickly enough, but the lads are in good spirits and there are no long faces. No one’s walking around here with impending doom.
“Everyone’s fine and we’ll meet the game head on and try as best we can to take the game to Sunderland.
“They’re a good team, which is why they are where they are, so there’s no taking away from that it’ll be a difficult game and they’ve got a lot to play for going forward, but so have we.”
Jack Ross, Sunderland Manager:
“We would never not treat the game properly because it’s obviously fairly significant for Southend and those other teams that are around them.
“Secondly, we want to try and finish the season with a win and thirdly there’s the incentive of confirming where we finish in the league and whether we play home or away first.
“There’s a lot at stake in terms of the game and that’ll be reflected in our selection. We’ll treat this as if we need to go there and win the game.”
This game is very close to a sell-out and therefore tickets are extremely limited.
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We would like to thank all Southend United fans for their tremendous support this season!
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