Southend United vs Walsall
Blues have an immediate chance to respond to the disappointment of losing to Coventry City at the weekend as they play host to Walsall at Roots Hall later this evening.
Southend saw their five-game unbeaten league run come to an end at the hands of the Sky Blues and Chris Powell will be eager to see his side’s home form improve ahead of two tough away games.
Walsall head down from the Midlands after a disappointing weekend of their own with their boss, Dean Keates, lambasting his side for their performance in a 2-0 defeat to Luton at Kenilworth Road.
The Saddlers last visited Roots Hall back in March and won 3-0 thanks to an Erhun Oztumer hat-trick and they’ll be looking for their first ever back-to-back away wins against the Blues in their history.
Southend United: LWLDWW
3rd March 2018: Southend United 0 vs 3 (Oztumer 3) Walsall
28th October 2017: Walsall 0 vs 1 (Cox) Southend United
18th March 2017: Southend United (Ranger, Ferdinand, Cox) 3 vs 2 (Moussa 2) Walsall
Blues will have to make do without the in-form Simon Cox with the striker having to serve a one-match ban following his sending off against Coventry City on Saturday.
That leaves the door open for Tom Hopper to return to the starting line-up. Hopper came off the bench to score against the Sky Blues having missed the trip to Gillingham through injury.
Chris Powell has plenty of options available to shake things up following Saturday’s defeat, with the likes of Jason Demetriou, John White and Michael Kightly all available but not used against Coventry.
Scotland defender Russell Martin is available for selection having joined Walsall in a player/coach capacity this week, but he’s unlikely to make his debut due to a lack of match fitness.
Manager Dean Keates though may look to ring the changes after he felt his Saddlers side “didn’t turn up” in their 2-0 defeat to Luton Town at the weekend.
Chris Powell, Southend United Manager:
“What we’ve got to do is go back to basics, do all those ugly things and make sure we do them well and try to play the football that we all know we can do.
“We’ve got to find that balance, it can be tough to find that in League One especially in the winter months and when you come up against tough opponents.
“But you’ve still got to keep your own house and things that have served you well and I felt that we didn’t do that on Saturday.”