Harrogate Town vs Southend United...
Southend United will make their first-ever appearance at the EnviroVent Stadium this weekend as they travel to take on Harrogate Town in another crunch League Two fixture.
Both sides met on the opening day and there will be a marked difference between the youngest-ever Blues team that took to the pitch in September and the one that will step out on Saturday.
And Mark Molesley and his side will want to banish the memories from that tough opening fixture by picking up a vital win this weekend in North Yorkshire.
Blues’ 0-0 draw with Walsall in midweek extended their winless run to seven matches, though Southend are unbeaten in their last three having also drawn against Scunthorpe and Stevenage.
In that run of seven games, Blues have also drawn with Salford and Oldham with their only defeats coming against Cheltenham and Tranmere.
Harrogate have split their last six results evenly with three wins and three defeats, but they come into the weekend off the back of successive defeats to Morecambe and Forest Green.
Last League Meeting
Saturday 12th September 2020
Southend United 0-4 Harrogate Town
Muldoon 25’, 69’, Kerry 44’, Martin 60’
Harrogate marked their debut in the Football League by putting four past a youthful Southend United side on the opening day of the 20/21 League Two season.
Goals from Lloyd Kerry and Aaron Martin, sandwiched between a double from talisman Jack Muldoon, secured a huge victory for the visitors at Roots Hall.
From The Boss
"There’s total confidence and belief in the group. Our performances have been good but the results haven’t been where they needed to be and where we wanted them to be.
"We’re hitting the right criteria in terms of we’re having a lot more chances than the other team, we’re giving up a lot less.
"We just need to keep being brave, taking responsibility in that final third but we’re creating more, we’re not giving up a lot and the more you dominate a game and more chances you create the more chance you’ve got of scoring goals. At the same time, we can’t think that we’re unlucky because it’s regularly happened. We need to be better in that final third and we’re aware of that.”
Blues Team News
Defender Sam Hart and midfielder Timothee Dieng will miss the trip to Harrogate this weekend as both are serving suspensions handed down to them this week.
Hart begins a three-match ban for his red card against Walsall while Dieng was charged by the FA for his part in Jordan Clarke’s sending off against Scunthorpe and was given a two-game ban.
Tom Clifford will be pushing for a recall to replace Hart at left-back with the defender having returned to training this week following a spell out with an ankle injury.
Fellow full-back Elvis Bwomono could be back in contention as he returns from international duty with Uganda, which forced him to miss the midweek draw with Walsall.
Jack Muldoon has continued to be the real driving force behind Harrogate this season, carrying on from his superb campaign last year and he certainly is going to be the dangerman this weekend.
Muldoon scored 14 times last season to fire Town into the Football League for the first time and he’s on course to eclipse that tally this season with 12 goals to his name so far.
Two of those came on the opening day of the season against Blues so Mark Molesley will be fully aware of the threat that the 31-year-old frontman poses on Saturday.
Leigh Doughty is the official this weekend at the EnviroVent Stadium, being assisted by Robert Merchant and Craig Taylor, with Shaun Hudson sitting in as the fourth official.
It’ll be Doughty’s first visit to Harrogate since January 2019, a 3-1 win for Town against Hartlepool, and it’ll be his first Blues game since a 3-1 defeat against Gillingham in October that same year.
So far this season Doughty has refereed 22 games and has shown 71 yellow cards and one red, with his last order of business being the 2-0 win for Norwich away at Nottingham Forest.
With fans unable to attend matches in person, Blues fans can watch tomorrow’s clash with Harrogate 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 EnviroVent Stadium, click here.
Please note, due to current BBC guidelines relating to travel during the national lockdown, 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 Harrogate’s commentary via the settings cog.