Southend United vs Fleetwood Town...
Southend United will be desperate not to record a fourth successive league defeat tomorrow afternoon as Joey Barton’s Fleetwood Town make the long trip down to Roots Hall.
Defeats to Shrewsbury, Peterborough and Charlton have put Blues just a point above the relegation zone at this early stage of the season and boss Chris Powell is looking for a response from his side.
Visitors Fleetwood, on the other hand, make the trip south unbeaten in seven league games having not tasted defeat since the opening day of the campaign against AFC Wimbledon.
The Cod Army have proven a tough nut to crack with three wins and four draws so far this season and they are unbeaten in their last three visits to Roots Hall.
Southend United: LLWLWL
Fleetwood Town: DDDWLD
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
28th January 2017: Fleetwood Town (Ball) 1 vs 1 (Wordsworth) Southend United
Blues will again be without captain Mark Oxley and midfielder Michael Kightly as they serve the final game of their three-game bans following their red cards against Charlton.
Defender Harry Lennon is still unavailable as he recovers from a broken toe while midfielders Luke Hyam and long-term absentee Sam Barratt also remain out.
Dru Yearwood has been described as ‘tantalisingly close’ to a return, but Saturday’s game is expected to come too quickly for the youngster who’s returning from a hamstring problem.
Fleetwood will be without captain Craig Morgan and attacker Conor McAleny after both limped off during Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Accrington with hamstring issues.
Dean Marney also picked up a knock in that game but is expected to be available while Ched Evans is expected to feature having returned from an ankle injury. Wes Burns is suspended.
Chris Powell, Southend United Manager:
“We’re playing against a side that only lost their first game, have drawn a few and picked up some good wins.
“As I said to the players last Saturday straight after the game, let alone this week, whatever happens, the eleven that are there when that whistle blows at 3 o’clock, you have to be ready.
“You have to put all negative thoughts to one side because we have to win a football match. These are the crucial times you have to stick together and be as one and eventually I have full trust in the boys they will get through it and get a result."
Joey Barton, Fleetwood Town Manager:
“The key for us is making sure that we’re the best version of us because we’ve proven that if we’re at it, we’re more than a match for anybody.
“Weirdly, we’re actually looking forward to away games because we’ve been so good on the road and [I’m] delighted to be back on the road this week and a game that, if we do what we can do, we can win.”