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Club News

Storylines: Gillingham vs Southend

12 October 2018

Some storylines to look out for ahead of the Gillingham game.

For the last three weeks Gillingham have ripped up, installed new drainage and irrigation and re-laid their pitch at Priestfield following pitch problems at the start of the 2018/19 season. 

The new pitch is what’s called a hybrid pitch, meaning that it is partly made of plastic and grass and has cost the club around £450,000. 

The work meant that their Sky Bet League One fixture against Blackpool on Tuesday 2nd October had to be moved to another date. 

The project was completed on Wednesday and the pitch is fully ready for its first taste of football on Saturday, with Gillingham having trained on it on Friday afternoon.

Chris Powell, though, has stated his concerns with a pitch which hasn't had time to bed in, citing a similar scenario to that of Rochdale last season when they played Tottenham in the FA Cup. 

Blues will be without Cyprian internationals Jason Demetriou and Harry Kyprianou on Saturday after they have been called up to the Cyprus and Cyprus U21’s squads. 

The open slot on the right-hand side will most likely pave way for youngster Elvis Bwomono who has been gifted many minutes under Chris Powell. 

Experienced defender John White is rated at a 50/50 chance of making the team due to his recovery from his knock in the Oxford game.  

This could mean that summer signing Harry Lennon could get a place in the 18-man squad. Lennon has been out since the start of the season after fracturing his against Doncaster and this Saturday’s game could see him reintroduced, but Powell has stated that the U23s match against AFC Wimbledon could be Lennon’s chance to get some minutes.

Blues head into tomorrow’s game on the back of three wins and a draw in the league. Results started picking up for Southend from the Fleetwood game, a 1-0 win over Joey Barton's Cod Army was a well-received victory and the 3-2 win away to Wycombe made the small jump from 16th to 13th that little bit sweeter. 

A late Tuesday night comeback against Burton pushed Blues up another two places and massively boosted the players and fans' morale. 

The 0-0 draw against Oxford last weekend wasn’t the best way to make it four games unbeaten but a point is still a point and still means that Powell’s side head into the Gillingham game with a great run of form, in the league at least following midweek Checkatrade Trophy disappointment.

The referee that will take charge of this weekend's game is John Busby. The official has already refereed both teams on one occasion so far this season. 

The Southend game he officiated was the first away game of the season against Plymouth Argyle.

The game was full of drama with the hosts taking the lead through a contentious penalty after 20 minutes, but Blues responded well and were eventually handed a penalty of their own which Demetriou converted with ease. 

However, that wasn’t the end of the drama as on the stroke of half-time both Powell and Derek Adams were dismissed and sent to the stands by Busby after Demetriou was brought down by Graham Taylor causing the managers to get into an altercation in the technical areas. 

Busby’s game for Gillingham wasn’t as eventful as ours but he did manage to give another penalty in the game which went to Barnsley.

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