Southend United head to Notts County on Saturday hoping to make it three unbeaten in the league heading into the Christmas period.
We’ve taken a look at five talking points ahead of the match.
Kevin Maher stated on Tuesday that his side needed to “show a little bit of personality on the ball” after Blues’ 1-1 draw with Maidenhead. He might decide to turn to some of the younger players who have returned to the fold for varying reasons, including Lewis Gard who made his first appearance on Tuesday since a 3-0 defeat to Portsmouth in October 2020. Gard had a successful loan spell at Heybridge Swifts recently and is looking to get a run in the side under Maher.
Fullback Tom Clifford could also return to the side after overcoming an ankle injury that has seen him side-lined since pre-season. He was included on the bench on Tuesday night before appearing for the U23s on Wednesday in the Premier League Cup.
The Blues head coach has named two unchanged starting line-ups and could, therefore, look to make some changes in a bid to get back to winning ways.
A turned corner?
Whilst many saw Tuesday’s draw as two points dropped, it did add a little bit of momentum to Maher’s Blues. Southend head to Notts County hoping to make it three unbeaten for the first time since December 2020. To do that though, Blues will have to be at their best against a Notts County side battling for promotion.
Murphy hitting form
Scoring goals has been a bit of a problem for Southend in recent seasons. As the lowest goal scorers in the Football League last season, Blues also find themselves at the bottom of the goal scoring table this year. One person who has been in a good vein of form, however, is Rhys Murphy. Signed from Yeovil in the summer, Murphy is currently on nine for the season, with five in his last six, and will be looking to get into double figures as soon as possible.
High flying Notts
Notts County manager Ian Burchnall will be hoping it’s third time lucky for his side as they fight to return to the EFL. The Magpies currently find themselves in the last available Play-Off spot, just four points off the summit. Notts finished 3rd and 5th respectively since falling out of League Two in 2019 and will be hoping this is the year that they return to the 4th division.
Southend and Notts County are no strangers to each other, having played each other 56 times in their respective histories. It could be a good omen for Southend, who are currently five unbeaten against the Magpies, with three wins and two draws. In fact, you would have to travel as far back as February 1994 for the last time Southend lost against Notts; a 1-0 defeat in the Anglo-Italian Cup.