Southend United vs Colchester United...
Boxing Day sees Southend United and Colchester United come head-to-head in a huge Essex Derby clash at Roots Hall with local bragging rights as well as three massive points at stake.
Blues have an excellent record when it comes to Boxing Day clashes with Southend having not lost any of their last eight Boxing Day games in the past 10 seasons.
Incidentally, Colchester were the last side to beat Southend on December 26th in 2009 but Blues will be hoping they can replicate the 2015 result which saw Blues beat the U’s 2-0.
Last time out Southend put in a dogged defensive display in Nottinghamshire to earn a point on the road at Mansfield Town, extending their unbeaten run to four matches.
It’s Blues’ best unbeaten run since January and they’ll go into Boxing Day in good spirits having won two and drawn two of their last six league games.
Colchester also have won two and drawn two of their last six matches, but they haven’t won any of their last three with a draw to Port Vale being followed up by defeats to Cambridge and Morecambe.
Last League Meeting
Saturday 6th February 2016
Southend United 3-0 Colchester United
Wordsworth 82’, Barrett 88’, McQueen 90’; Gilbey Sent Off 36’
Three goals in eight minutes from Blues secured a big derby day win the last time these two sides met in the league as Southend broke Colchester’s resilient defence in a 3-0 victory.
Colchester’s Alex Gilbey saw red after 36 minutes, but it took until the 82nd for Blues to make the breakthrough with Anthony Wordsworth, Adam Barrett and Sam McQueen sealing the win.
From The Boss
“Hopefully we can bring a bit of festive cheer to the fans.
“It’s my first derby and we all know what the game means to the fans.
“Not having them there to create that atmosphere is literally taking any kind of home advantage away.
“It’s the situation we face, we’re bitterly disappointed but it’s up to us to remain professional and make sure we get a result to cheer everyone up.
“They’ve had a fantastic start and have a lovely way of playing; good attacking football. They’re a good footballing side so we will certainly give them the respect they deserve.
“We’re in for a very hard game but one we’re ready to take on.
“Sometimes these games have a different feel to them and form, the league table go out the window. It’s whoever holds their nerve and performs their best on the day.”
Blues Team News
James Olayinka has returned to his parent club Arsenal for treatment on an on-going groin problem which has been hampering the midfielder for some time now.
Mark Molesley though is hopeful Olayinka will be back and available for Boxing Day, with the Blues boss also hoping Alan McCormack can recover from a slight calf strain picked up on Saturday.
A late decision will be made on full-back Tom Clifford who ended up in a protective boot at Mansfield after receiving a nasty gash on the inside of his ankle.
In more positive news, experienced defender John White has returned to full training after a hamstring problem, putting him in line for a return to the squad on Boxing Day.
Callum Harriott is certainly someone that Blues need to be wary of this weekend, with the winger already exceeding his goal tally for the last two seasons combined this campaign.
The 26-year-old has five goals to his name, including a stunner against Crawley at the start of the month, with further goals also coming against Oldham, Walsall, Harrogate and Grimsby.
Harriott can cause havoc for opposition defenders with his pace and 1-on-1 ability, which is what caught the eye of Dutch legend Jaap Stam when he signed Harriott for Reading in 2016.
Boxing Day will see Neil Hair in charge of proceedings, being assisted by Marc Wilson and Darren Blunden, with Anthony Da Costa sitting in as the fourth official.
Hair has officiated 14 games so far this season, issuing 56 yellow cards and just the one red which came in his last outing at Crawley’s 4-2 win against Barrow a fortnight ago.
This will be Hair’s first visit to Roots Hall since last Boxing Day’s 2-2 draw against MK Dons, having also officiated both side’s Carabao Cup clash against each other earlier that season.
With fans again not able to attend Roots Hall in person, Blues fans can watch Boxing Day’s clash with Colchester by picking up a Match Pass for iFollow Blues for £10.
A Match Pass will allow you to watch the game on your laptop, computer, tablet or mobile device with Season Ticket holders already having access to their pass via their iFollow account.
For more information on how you can get your Match Pass and ensure you miss none of the action in this huge Essex derby on iFollow Blues, click here.