Colchester United vs Southend United...
There have been 77 competitive meetings between Southend United and Colchester United since their first clash in 1950 but the 78th edition of this Essex rivalry is arguably the biggest of the lot.
It’s a game that, simply put, Blues cannot afford to lose. Defeat for Phil Brown’s side would leave them nine points adrift of Colchester and safety with just nine more points to play for.
And with the Blues boss himself describing the game as the biggest in the club’s history in the build-up, there is no hiding from the magnitude of the occasion at the JobServe Community Stadium.
Saturday’s draw against promotion-chasing Exeter was Blues’ third draw in succession, following on from the draws with Crawley and Morecambe.
Southend have become quite the draw specialists with nine of their last 15 games ending in a share of the spoils, and in their last six matches Blues have won one, drawn four and lost just once.
Colchester’s win over Walsall on Saturday was just their second win of 2021 and their only win from their last six which includes three draws and two defeats.
Last League Meeting
Saturday 26th December 2020
Southend United 2-0 Colchester United
Akinola 10’, Dieng 22’
A first-half double from Simeon Akinola and Timothee Dieng earned Blues local bragging rights against Colchester United in this Boxing Day clash at Roots Hall.
Akinola headed in Sam Hart’s free-kick to put the home side in front after just 10 minutes with Dieng firing in a second to double Southend’s advantage midway through the first-half.
From The Boss
“In our history, it’s going to be the biggest challenge and the biggest game. The game on Saturday wasn’t the result that we were looking for so Colchester have put a bit of space between us again.
“I’m going to say it, regardless of whether you’re going to ask the question about a must-win situation, it is a must-win situation.
“We’re going into that in the full knowledge that we must win four games. If we can get to 50 points it brings a whole new scenario to the ballpark. I’m not convinced everyone above us in the 40’s are safe, but they might be in a better situation than we are that’s for sure, so psychologically they’re going into games thinking if they win they might be safe. Bottom line is, we need to win this game or it could be the end of a great era.”
Blues Team News
Timothee Dieng, who scored the last time these two sides met, will be unavailable this evening as he continues his recovery from a hamstring injury picked up against Crawley.
Blues are waiting to hear the extent of Tom Clifford’s thigh injury that saw him pull out during the warm-up at Exeter, with Sam Hart ready to deputise once again after impressing on Saturday.
Alan McCormack recovered sufficiently to make a brief substitute appearance at the weekend, with the experienced midfielder likely to be pushing for a start this evening.
Should he be fit tonight, Callum Harriott will undoubtedly pose a huge threat to the Southend defence with the former Reading and Charlton man the U’s top scorer this campaign.
Harriott limped off at half-time during their win against Walsall on Saturday so is a doubt, but he’s proven to be a real asset to Colchester this season with nine goals and five assists to his name.
And when Harriott scores, good things happen for the U’s who haven’t lost any of the eight games the Guayana international has scored in, with his last goal coming in a 1-1 draw with Barrow.
Tonight’s crunch Essex Derby will be officiated by Kevin Johnson, with Anthony Da Costa and Scott Williams the assistants and Declan Bourne the fourth official.
Johnson has been in charge of 24 games so far this season, showing a total of 71 yellow cards and four reds, with his last match being the April 10th clash between Cambridge and Exeter.
It’ll be Johnson’s first visit to the JobServe Community Stadium since April 2018 and his second Southend game of the campaign having overseen the 2-2 draw with Exeter in October.
With fans unable to attend matches in person, Blues fans can watch tonight’s clash with Colchester by picking up a Match Pass for iFollow Blues for £10.
Overseas supporters can pick up a pass for just £7 with the pass allowing you to catch the game on your laptop, computer, tablet or mobile device.
For more information on how you can get your Match Pass for iFollow Blues and ensure you miss none of the action at the JobServe Community Stadium, click here.