Coventry City vs. Southend United...
Southend United open their League One campaign with a trip to the St. Andrew’s Trillion Trophy stadium as Blues start their season off against the Sky Blues of Coventry City tomorrow afternoon.
Birmingham City will play host to Mark Robins’ side this season after Coventry were forced out of their Ricoh Arena ground over the summer and into a ground share with the Championship club.
So, it’ll be unfamiliar surroundings for all come Saturday afternoon with both sides eyeing up the best possible start to their 2019/20 campaign.
You can never take pre-season results too seriously, but Blues had mixed results over the course of July with two wins, three draws and two defeats in their seven warm-up matches.
Kevin Bond’s side though finished preparations for the new season on a high with a win against Championship side Millwall followed by a draw against League One rivals Gillingham.
Coventry had a slimmer pre-season schedule compared to Blues with just the five matches played, losing just the one against Huddersfield with two draws and two wins rounding off pre-season.
Saturday 29th December 2018 – Ricoh Arena
Coventry City 1-0 Southend United
Jordy Hiwula’s solitary goal early in the second-half was all that separated Coventry and Blues when the two sides last met back in December at the Ricoh Arena.
Tom Bayliss’ defence-splitting pass in the 55th minute found the run of Hiwula who calmly slotted the ball beyond Nathan Bishop to secure a league double over Southend.
Blues Team News
Australian Mark Milligan will mark his full debut by leading the Blues out on Saturday after the midfielder was named Southend club captain for the upcoming season.
Joe Shaughnessy is hopeful of receiving international clearance in time to make his debut after signing yesterday with fellow new boys Brandon Goodship and Nathan Ralph in line for debuts also. Liam Ridgewell is unlikely to be available, though, after only completing a move on Friday morning.
Kevin Bond will be without the experienced Simon Cox who hasn’t kicked a ball in anger all pre-season thanks to a calf injury, with defender Rob Kiernan also missing out with an ankle problem.
Coventry Danger man
Wesley Jobello has been turning a few heads in pre-season after signing for Coventry from French Second Division side Ajaccio in the summer.
Jobello has been looking impressive on both flanks and looks to offer a real threat with his crosses which is something Blues will need to be very wary of on Saturday.
As part of a front three, the Frenchman has impressed in the warm-up matches ahead of the season and will be one to keep an eye on at St. Andrews.
In a weird twist of fate, Craig Hicks will take charge tomorrow having been the man in the middle of Southend’s opening game last season against Doncaster Rovers.
Hicks officiated 40 games last season, mostly across League One and Two, issuing 114 yellow cards and five red cards.
He’ll be assisted by David Plowright and Craig Taylor, with Richard Morris on hand as fourth official.
Away Fans Guide
Southend fans will be housed in the lower tier of the Gil Merrick stand at St. Andrews, which is located behind the goal to the right of the player's tunnel and dugouts.
The stand generally has a capacity of 3,000 which can be increased to 4,500 depending on demand, with the stadium as a whole capable of holding over 30,000 fans.
For more information on St. Andrews, including where to park, travel directions and where to go for a pre-match drink, check out awaygames.co.uk’s guide by clicking here.
We’re on course to have over 1,000 Southend fans making the trip to Birmingham to roar the Blue boys on as they start their League One campaign, with 780+ tickets pre-sold.
Tickets for the game go off pre-sale at midday but they are still available to purchase on the day of the game from the turnstiles at St. Andrews with no matchday increase in price.
Those who have purchased tickets already can collect them from the Kop Main Stand reception. If you wish to pay on the day, turnstiles will be open at 1.30pm and are cash only.