Chesterfield v Southend United…
Just four weeks after Chesterfield beat Southend United 4-0 at Roots Hall, the two sides clash again, however, this time at the Technique Stadium in the Emirates FA Cup First Round.
And Blues will head into the fixture with an optimistic mindset, as they brushed aside Dover Athletic with a 4-1 victory on Tuesday night, as Kevin Maher achieved his first victory after being appointed head coach at the club.
But, highlighted by the result four weeks ago, it will be a tough challenge for the visitors, as James Rowe’s Chesterfield sit third in the National League standings and have lost just once this season.
Southend’s 4-1 victory over Chertsey Town in the FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round was Blues’ first win in the competition since 2018, and they will be hoping to form a cup run after their tough start to the 21/22 campaign.
Some good investment and an astute, young manager at the helm have contributed to the Spireites’ strong start to the season.
Since their last victory over Southend, Rowe’s side have won three of their four matches, drawing the other.
But they have been hit by a severe injury crisis to their defensive players in the recent weeks, Gavin Gunning, Lawrence Maguire and Jamie Grimes will all be missing this weekend for the hosts.
And Danny Rowe, who scored a hat-trick in his side’s victory at Roots Hall nearly a month ago, has also been missing as he suffered a health issue.
The Blues have won three of their last six outings in all competitions, each with different figures in the dugout.
Phil Brown managed when Blues secured a 1-0 victory over Eastleigh, before Jason Demetriou took temporary charge during Southend’s 4-1 victory over Chertsey and most recently, Maher’s men won 4-1 against Dover.
Sandwiched between those results were defeats against Chesterfield, Dagenham & Redbridge and Boreham Wood.
The Spireites went undefeated throughout October and have emerged victorious five times from their last seven matches.
From The Boss:
"It’s the FA Cup and that’s really important,” said Maher.
"It’s a great competition and we’ll be going out to win the game on Saturday.
"A cup run can be great for the fans but we know this is a tough game.
"They beat us here comfortably a few weeks ago and they’re going ever so well this season.
"It’s a difficult challenge but it’s one we look forward to, especially after Tuesday’s win.
"Hopefully we can give another good performance and see where that takes us."
Blues’ Team News:
Sheffield United loanees Zak Brunt and Kacper Łopata have both been granted permission to feature for Maher’s side this weekend.
Blues midfielder Harry Phillips will face a late fitness check after being pulled from the field of play on Tuesday as he suffered a dead leg.
Abu Ogogo will serve the last match of his two-game suspension following his sending off against Boreham Wood.
Fullbacks Nathan Ralph and Jason Demetriou remain unavailable for selection.
Simeon Akinola will also be absent as a result of his knee injury, with the length of his absence not known as yet.
Josh Coulson and Tom Clifford are still out with their respective long-term injury lay-offs.
Scott Simpson will be calling the shots at the Technique Stadium on Saturday.
Simpson has taken charge of 11 matches this season across the National League and Premier League 2, issuing 32 yellow cards and four reds.
He hasn’t officiated a Southend game.
The referee will be assisted by Steve Durnall and Scott Chalkley, Gareth Thomas will be fourth official for the cup clash.
Zak Brunt on facing the club he supported growing up:
"I'll have a few friends and family at the game that probably won't be supporting Southend," Brunt joked.
"I grew up in Chesterfield and had a season ticket for four or five years, but when it comes to Saturday there's only one team that I want to win, simple as that!
"I'm not sure I'll be allowed back home! But I know my family will support me and I know my family, apart from my brother, will want me and Southend to do well.
"I'll have a few of my mates in the stand giving me some stick but it'll be good."
Brunt is really thriving and enjoying his time at the club, adding: "I'm loving it.
"As soon as the chance came about to get some experience playing men's football and to show what I can do, I had to take it.
"It's the first time being out on loan for me so I didn't know what it would be like going into a dressing room but the boys have been absolutely sound with me."
Key matches elsewhere in the FA Cup:
AFC Sudbury v Colchester United
Sunderland v Mansfield Town
Hayes & Yeading United v Sutton United
Carlisle United v Horsham
Yate Town v Yeovil Town
Rotherham United v Bromley
Portsmouth v Harrow Borough
Northampton Town v Cambridge United
Wigan Athletic v Solihull Moors
King’s Lynn Town v Walsall
Charlton Atheltic v Havant and Waterlooville
Leyton Orient v Ebbsfleet United
Lincoln City v Bowers and Pitsea
Bolton Wanderers v Stockport County
How to Follow:
Blues fans unable to attend the Technique Stadium will still be able to follow all the live action by subscribing to Blues TV where you’ll get live match commentary from the BBC Essex team from all first-team matches this season.
Blues TV costs £4.49 per month or a one-off cost of £45 for the season, with your subscription not only giving you match commentary, but also exclusive access to extended match highlights, full pre-match press conferences, interviews, features and more.
You can also follow live minute-by-minute updates on social media via the Club’s official Twitter account by following @SUFCRootsHall on Twitter, which will ensure you get all the latest news and more throughout the 2021/22 season.