Southend United vs Portsmouth...
Blues return to action this evening as they take on League One leaders Portsmouth in the Checkatrade Trophy at Roots Hall, looking to book their place in the last eight of the competition.
Southend will have benefited from some extra rest having not played this weekend and will still be on a high after the entertaining finish to their 2-0 win over local rivals Gillingham a week ago.
Portsmouth are expected the shuffle their pack as they come into the game off the back of a superb FA Cup win against Championship side Norwich City on Saturday.
Kenny Jackett’s side are currently riding high in the League One table, five points clear of Luton in second, but they have a poor recent record at Roots Hall, failing to win on any of their last five visits.
Southend United: WLWLWL
8th December 2018: Portsmouth (Turner OG, Lowe) 2 vs 0 Southend United
17th February 2018: Southend United (Clarke OG, Demetriou 2) 3 vs 1 (Evans) Portsmouth
18th November 2017: Portsmouth (Pitman) 1 vs 0 Southend United
Goalkeeper Ted Smith could be in line for his first start of the season with first choice goalkeeper Mark Oxley still out nursing a back problem.
Theo Robinson will miss out following his red card against Gillingham which leaves Powell with just one fit striker in Simon Cox, so youngster Charlie Kelman could also be involved this evening.
Isaac Hutchinson will also hope to build on his first league start for the club, with Southend still missing a number of first-team players due to serious injuries.
Portsmouth boss Kenny Jacket has said he will rotate his squad as he has done throughout the competition, giving some of his more fringe players a chance to impress.
One player who won’t be available for Pompey will be midfielder Ben Thompson who played the full 90 minutes their FA Cup win at Norwich but has been recalled from his loan spell by Millwall.
Chris Powell, Southend United Manager:
“This is a competition that we’re in and we should look to win it, if not don’t play in it.
"I know we are going to have a strong side tomorrow, we do have some young players in the side, but they are young players that have been playing recently.
“We’ve had a week's rest as such, we have been training, but we should be chomping at the bit to play and do our best to win another football match because everyone loves winning."
Kenny Jackett, Portsmouth Manager:
“Southend are a very competitive League One team and will be working hard to get themselves up around the play-off places.
“We’ve got through to the knockout stages and if we can keep progressing on all fronts that would be great because there’s the carrot of a Wembley appearance at the end.
“But every win we’ve had in any competition this season has been hard-earned and we know it’s not going to get easier.”