Southend United vs AFC Wimbledon...
Southend boss Chris Powell has called the visit of AFC Wimbledon on Saturday the “biggest game” of the season as Blues look to ease their relegation fears with three points tomorrow afternoon.
Following Tuesday’s collapse at Scunthorpe, Blues are now without a win in nine matches and with Powell’s side just two points above the drop they know tomorrow is almost a must win.
In their way are basement side AFC Wimbledon, but don’t be fooled by the Dons’ position in the table. Despite sitting bottom, a resurgent Dons are third in the form guide with four wins from six.
Back-to-back wins over Doncaster and Peterborough have put Wimbledon in reach of safety having looked dead and buried not so long ago, and they’ll not want Southend to dent their momentum.
Southend United: LDLDDL
AFC Wimbledon: WWDLWW
24th November 2018: AFC Wimbledon (Oshilaja, Pinnock) 2 vs 1 (Trotter OG) Southend United
1st January 2018: AFC Wimbledon (Trotter, Soares) 2 vs 0 Southend United
26th September 2017: Southend United (Demetriou) 1 vs 0 AFC Wimbledon
Goalkeeper Mark Oxley is back in contention for Blues after he returned to training having been out with a persistent back problem which has kept the Yorkshireman out since mid-December.
Defender John White is also in the frame for a return after he too returned to training midweek while Chris Powell decides on whether to throw Rob Kiernan back in after scoring at Blackpool.
Striker Stephen Humphrys had a successful operation on a facial injury picked up against Accrington with Blues waiting to see how he responds to rehabilitation before discussing his return.
Kwesi Appiah will be pushing for a place in the Dons squad after recovering from a hamstring injury which has kept the Ghanaian international out for a total of seven games.
Deli Oshilaja and Rod McDonald were doubtful for the midweek game against Peterborough and didn’t feature and they’ll both be looking to make a return from foot and groin injuries respectively.
Chris Powell, Southend United Manager:
“They’re still in a precarious position and they will be fighting – we’ve almost got to fight fire with fire in many ways because they’ll be coming to try and carry on the run they’re on.
“We understand how it is, but like them, two games ago, it wasn’t like that and all of a sudden it’s changed for them. We’ve still got to believe that will happen for us and I’m confident it will.
“We have been close on many occasions but not close enough and I know we can do that. I know the task that lies ahead may be very daunting off the back of what’s happened but we know it can quickly change and that’s what we have to believe in.”
Wally Downes, AFC Wimbledon Manager:
“Well we’re in a tough position. We’ve just got to keep plugging away and getting the results – what will be will be.
“It’s not as though you can sort of plan and strategize that perhaps if we get a point here and then we’ve got a tough away game and we can get a point there, and get them home and get three – no.
"We’ve got to win every game. We’ve got to approach every game like a cup final and try and certainly win the first half if we can, if we can’t [then] win the second half but, in the end, we’ve got to win the games.”