Blackpool vs Southend United...
Blues travel to Blackpool this weekend for the game being dubbed ‘The Homecoming’ by the Tangerines who are expecting a bumper crowd to be in attendance at Bloomfield Road.
It’s the first home game the club have had since the appointment of a new board, bringing to an end four years of boycotts from Blackpool fans who’d previously been refusing to attend home games.
As a result, it’ll be an emotional atmosphere on the seaside, but Chris Powell’s team will be going up there to try and dampen the mood somewhat by picking up a first win in eight games.
And it’s been on the road where Southend have enjoyed the most success this season, picking up 21 points on their travels – one more than achieved at home, having played one game less.
Southend United: LDDLDL
17th November 2018: Southend United (Demetriou) 1 vs 2 (Turton, Gnanduillet) Blackpool
17th March 2018: Blackpool (Robertson) 1 vs 1 (Fortune) Southend United
30th September 2017: Southend United (Wordsworth, Cox) 2 vs 1 (Vassell) Blackpool
Southend have been boosted by the return of Jason Demetriou to training this week. The Cypriot full-back has been out of action for three months and is likely to be involved in the squad.
Rob Kiernan and Harry Lennon are also available with both featuring on the bench recently, with Chris Powell questioning whether it’s now or never to throw them back into action.
John White and Sam Hart have been suffering from a virus; Hart is back amongst the group while White is out. Stephen Humphrys is awaiting surgery and is expected to be out for a number of weeks.
Blackpool boss Terry McPhillips said there were “a couple of knocks” from Tuesday night’s win over Accrington, although he wouldn’t divulge who those players were that they were assessing.
One person who is expected to return to the fold is Marc Bola who’d been out recently with a hamstring problem, but has now returned to training and is likely to feature.
Chris Powell, Southend United Manager:
“We know every single game will be a real tough battle. We’re going to have to take full responsibility because it’s going to be a fight every game we play in.
“Everyone wants to play in good atmosphere’s and packed stadiums and that’s the case on Saturday. It’s about us spoiling the party as such. The performance is what’s needed.
“On the road, we’re eighth in the table and we know our home form is nowhere near that. But we’ve picked up some good points away from home recently at Bradford, Charlton, Accrington so it’s in us to pick up a point or three on the road and that’s what we need right now.”
Terry McPhillips, Blackpool Manager:
“People have been telling me about how it’s been four years and it’s four years of hurt for them. Everyone’s got their different stories as to why they fell out of the football club.
“I ask for everyone to unite together; the fans that have stayed away, the fans that’ve been coming, the players, the staff, the whole football club needs to unite now, not only for the run in but certainly on Saturday.
“It’s going to be an occasion. Hopefully, we can inspire them to cheer for us and they can inspire us like they helped us at Accrington, to be the 12th man and to get the win.”
Tickets will come off sale from the Blues Box Office on Friday at midday but they are available from Blackpool on the day and there is no price increase.