Oldham Athletic vs Southend United...
Blues are back on the road once again as Mark Molesley’s side make the long trip up to Boundary Park to take on Oldham Athletic tomorrow afternoon in League Two.
The Latics have very much been a Jekyll and Hyde outfit this season, having the second-best goalscoring record in the entire division while also having the worst defensive record.
Southend on the other hand are the lowest scorers in the division, but they have tightened things right up at the back.
Three points in Greater Manchester would be the perfect response to the defeat in midweek and with back-to-back games at Roots Hall on the horizon.
Tuesday night’s narrow defeat to Cheltenham ended a two-game unbeaten run for Blues which had seen them draw against Salford and win away at Forest Green Rovers.
Southend’s last six clashes have also seen them pick up a win away at Newport before drawing with Cambridge and falling to another narrow reversal at the hands of Bolton.
Oldham fell to a 2-0 defeat to Bolton in midweek, with Harry Kewell’s side having picked up two wins and a draw from their last six outings.
Last League Meeting
Tuesday 27th October 2020
Southend United 1-2 Oldham Athletic
Clifford 76’; Grant 49’, Dearnley 89’
Zak Dearnley’s late strike was the difference between the two sides when they last came head-to-head in October as Oldham run out 2-1 winners at Roots Hall.
Bobby Grant opened the scoring from close range before Tom Clifford brought the sides level with a superb free-kick. That was until Dearnley ran through to score the winner late on.
From The Boss
"They are one of the top scorers in the league so they are free-flowing and they can hurt you.
"We’ve got to show that defensive mentality that we’ve been showing but at the same time, an area for improvement is we want to be scoring more goals ourselves.
"It’s about finding that balance of being solid and hard to beat and also trying to make the most of our chances as well.
"You have to be at your best all the time, this league shows anyone can beat anyone.
"We’ve got to nullify them and use the spaces that they might leave with their good attacking play and see if we can threaten them."
Blues Team News
Striker Nile Ranger has been ruled out for the rest of the season after the frontman picked up a serious groin injury shortly after coming off the bench against Salford last weekend.
Mark Oxley continues to be absent also with a groin problem which is expected to keep him out for two to four weeks, leaving emergency loanee James Montgomery to deputise.
Elvis Bwomono will need a late fitness check on his calf injury which ruled him out of the trip to Cheltenham in midweek.
And the injured quartet of Sam Hart (groin), Jacob Mellis (illness), James Olayinka (ankle) and Terrell Egbri (hamstring) are all back in training. They continue to build up their sharpness and Molesley said he is looking to arrange a behind closed doors game to aid their return to the first team.
Congolese midfielder Dylan Bahamboula has been turning a lot of heads this season with his eye-catching performances and he is certainly going to be Oldham’s dangerman on Saturday.
This is Bahamboula’s first season in English football and the skilful attacking midfielder has impressed during his brief time so far with the Latics.
‘Moyo’ as he’s affectionately known has eight assists and five goals to his name, three of which have come in his last six matches with strikes against Salford, Tranmere and Carlisle.
Ollie Yates will be the man in charge at Boundary Park tomorrow afternoon, being assisted by Kevin Mulraine and Declan Ford, with James Bell the fourth official.
It’ll be Yates’ first trip to Oldham since October 2019 and his first Southend game since he oversaw a 2-1 defeat for Blues at home to Bristol Rovers in February of that same year.
Yates has taken charge of 21 games so far this campaign, showing 70 yellow cards and no reds, though his book wasn’t needed in his last game which saw Salford thrash Cambridge 4-1.
How to watch
With fans unable to attend matches in person, Blues fans can watch tomorrow’s clash with Oldham Athletic 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 Boundary Park, 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 Oldham’s commentary via the settings cog.
The Sky Bet League Two standings going into the weekend's action...