Newport County vs Southend United...
Blues are back on the road once again as Mark Molesley’s side travel to Newport County for tonight’s rearranged League Two fixture at Rodney Parade.
The game had originally been scheduled to be both side’s first fixture of 2021, but some inclement and cold weather in Wales put pay to that as the pitch was deemed unplayable.
And after Southend’s game against Walsall on Saturday was called off due to a waterlogged pitch, the Blues players will be itching to get back on the field again with three vital points at stake.
Last time out Blues were on the wrong end of a 5-1 defeat against Port Vale which extended Southend’s run without a win to five games.
Prior to the defeat at Vale Park, Blues had suffered defeats to Cambridge, Mansfield and Bradford with Southend having picked up one win and one draw from their last six matches.
Newport ended an eight-game winless run by beating Grimsby 1-0 on Saturday, despite having 10 men for almost an hour. In their last six, the Exiles have won one and drawn three.
Last League Meeting
Tuesday 14th April 2015
Southend United 2-0 Newport County
Bolger 45’, McLaughlin 51’
Blues’ last league meeting with Newport came in 2015 when two goals either side of the interval secured Southend a 2-0 victory and sealed them a spot in the League Two play-offs.
Cian Bolger headed the home side in front in first-half stoppage time before Stephen McLaughlin grabbed Phil Brown’s side their second six minutes after the restart to wrap up the points.
From The Boss
On the weekend without a game: "We had a lot of wrongs to right so we wanted to get back out on the pitch as quickly as possible to put the performance at Port Vale to bed.
"It wasn't to be [on the weekend], so we'll take the positives out of it, we got to rest up a few. It was well documented quite a few came off injured against Port Vale so maybe that extra weekend to rest and recuperate a few of those players was the only positive that came out of it for us.
On the preparation: “We’re right under snow here and we haven’t been able to get on the astro-turf so we’ve been out clearing snow to try and find an area [to train].
“We’ve prepared the best we can under the circumstances. We managed to get a little bit of work done but as you can imagine it was pretty covered [with snow] out there.
“It was all hands on deck with shovels to clear the snow and we managed to do something.
On the Rodney Parade pitch: “The pitch is going to be a challenge but it’s not just there’s, all pitches are struggling this season. They are heavy and they have their challenges; there’s a lot more injuries around because of the state of the pitches.
“We’re in the middle of a bleak winter at the moment so the elements are going to be quite a challenge but we have to rise to that.
“You can’t always play the way you want to sometimes and you have to be very adaptable. We have to pick the right team for the occasion and get it tactically right as well.”
Blues Team News
Should he feature this evening, midfielder Timothee Dieng will make his 100th Southend appearance since joining from Bradford City in 2018.
Mark Molesley continues to sweat over the fitness of Sam Hart (abductor), Simeon Akinola (hamstring), Elvis Bwomono (back) and John White (foot) who all were forced off against Port Vale.
The Blues boss has said that a “couple of them” were back in training but didn’t go into detail about which of those four could travel to Wales for tonight’s game.
Striker Brandon Goodship (rib) is close to making a return having been out since mid-December, while Jacob Mellis could be set to make his Southend debut after signing from Gillingham.
Alan McCormack (calf) and Terrell Egbri (hamstring) will continue to miss out, with Molesley not willing to risk the two just yet on heavy pitches and in cold conditions.
One of Newport’s recent signings Luke Gambin is doing exactly what his manager Michael Flynn asked him to do since joining from Colchester United on loan for the rest of the season.
Gambin was brought in to provide the Exiles with some cutting edge after their stuttering recent form and the Maltese international has done exactly that in his three games so far.
The 27-year-old winger has already popped up with two goals and an assist for Newport from those three outings and he will undoubtedly be one of their main threats this evening.
Paul Howard will be the referee for tonight’s game, being assisted by Ravel Cheosiaua and Christopher Wade with Charles Breakspear sitting in as the fourth official.
Howard has officiated 17 matches so far this season, showing a total of 54 yellows and two reds, with his last outing being the 1-0 win for Tranmere at Morecambe.
Tonight will be Howard’s second Southend game of the campaign having already overseen the 3-0 defeat to Portsmouth in the Papa John’s Trophy back in October.
With fans unable to attend matches in person, Blues fans can watch tonight’s clash with Newport County 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 Rodney Parade, click here.
Please note, due to current BBC guidelines relating to travel to and from a Tier 4 area, the BBC Essex commentary team will not be able to provide match commentary for the game. Instead, you will have a choice of listening to ambient stadium noise or you can switch to Newport’s commentary via the settings cog.