Southend United vs Gillingham...
Southend United are quickly back in action tonight as they entertain Gillingham at Roots Hall in an Essex-Kent derby.
Rearranged from early January, this is Blues’ second of three straight home matches this week as they look to pick up precious points to keep their battle against the drop alive.
In their way are a Gills side who have proven themselves to be tough to beat in the last couple of months, with Steve Evans’ side currently on a 13-game unbeaten run in League One.
Southend’s defeat to high-flyers Coventry City on Saturday was Blues’ third successive defeat in the league, following on from reversals against Peterborough United and Blackpool.
Prior to the three-game losing run, Sol Campbell’s side had recorded two wins out of their previous three with victories over Accrington Stanley and Lincoln City.
Gillingham beat 10-man Doncaster Rovers on Saturday to extend their unbeaten run in the league to 13-matches, with Gills winning three and drawing three of their last six outings.
Saturday 5th October 2019
Gillingham 3-1 Southend United
Jones 43’, O’Keefe 46’, Hanlan 87’; Cox 58’
Blues suffered a 3-1 defeat to Gillingham at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium in a game that saw Southend finish the game with 10 men and Gills miss two penalties.
Goals from Alfie Jones, Stuart O’Keefe and Brandon Hanlan wrapped up the points for Gills despite Mikael Ndjoli missing twice from the spot, with Simon Cox grabbing a consolation for Blues.
Blues Team News
Southend are waiting to hear the extent of goalkeeper Mark Oxley’s thigh injury which saw him limp off late on in the defeat to Coventry at the weekend, but he is certainly ruled out. A scan will determine whether he misses the next three or six weeks.
18-year-olds Harry Seaden or Callum Taylor will come in to deputise unless an emergency loan is acquired in time.
Jason Demetriou and Stephen McLaughlin should be available for selection again, although Campbell suggested the Cypriot might only make the bench. If McLaughlin returns he will be hopefull of scoring having done so on five of his previous six games against the Gills.
Stephen Humphrys is still sidelined with his broken nose but fit-again Harry Kyprianou is pushing for a start after coming into the squad at the weekend.
John Akinde was a recent acquisition for the Gills in the January transfer window from Lincoln and he’s no stranger to scoring a goal or two, making him one to watch.
The 30-year-old striker fired Lincoln to promotion last season as their top scorer and he’s already off the mark for his new employers with a goal in Gillingham’s 3-2 win over Blackpool last Tuesday.
His power and size make him a handful for defences, allowing him to hold up play and bring others into the equation and making him an all-round threat, not just in front of goal.
Trevor Kettle will be in charge for his third Blues game of the season this evening, being assisted by Alasdair Ross and Paul Kelly, with Nicholas Cooper sitting in as the fourth official.
Kettle had previously been in the middle for Southend’s home game against Brighton u21s in the Leasing.com Trophy and their away trip to Sunderland’s Stadium of Light.
This will be Kettle’s 26th game of the season, with his previous 25 games seeing 93 yellows and nine reds, though Kettle didn’t brandish a single card last time out during Saturday’s game at Grimsby.
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