Walsall vs Southend United...
Southend United are on the road once again as they make the trip to the West Midlands tomorrow afternoon to take on Walsall at the Banks’s Stadium.
Mark Molesley’s side are in desperate need of a first league win and they’ll be going to what has been a pretty happy hunting ground in recent times for Blues.
Southend have lost just one of their last five visits to The Saddlers, a record which Blues fans will hope bodes well for a positive result on Saturday.
Safe to say that Southend’s recent form hasn’t been ideal with Blues yet to pick up a win in the league or any competition so far this campaign.
The midweek defeat to Colchester and last weekend’s penalty defeat to Boreham Wood only compounded a poor run of form for Southend who had lost their last six league games.
A much-changed side, equalling the average for the youngest starting 11 ever fielded by a Southend manager, was put out on Tuesday night so Molelsey will look to a positive second half response and extra time performance in the Emirates FA Cup last weekend, albeit not the right end result on penalties, as something to try and build on going into this weekend.
Walsall too lost their two cup games this week, but they’ve proven to be tough to beat in the league with just one defeat in 11 games, although of those 11, seven have been draws.
Friday 19th April 2019
Walsall 1-1 Southend United
Oteh (p)90’; Cox 43’
This was certainly a controversial last meeting between these two sides as Aramide Oteh’s hotly disputed penalty in stoppage-time cost Blues victory at the Banks’s Stadium.
Simon Cox appeared to have secured Blues their first win in months to alleviate relegation fears only for referee Ross Joyce to give the softest of penalties to the hosts, ensuring the points were shared.
From The Boss
“We always remain positive. It’s been a mixed week and our training numbers have been a little bit split and a little bit limited," said Molesley.
“Some were on extended recovery after extra time on Saturday and only took part in lighter training while another group was preparing for a game and vice versa from Tuesday.
“On the training field is where you hone everything and where teams are built, and in pre-season we were missing a lot of the key players who are starting to come back and be around the team now.
“Those building blocks are a little bit disrupted due to injuries and the lack of time, and since then we’ve been trying to catch our breath a little bit and the games have been coming thick and fast, Saturday, Tuesday.
“That’s the rigours of the game and post Covid congestion on the fixture list.
“Coupled with the injuries it has made it challenging, but we need to roll with the punches and keep striving to improve.
“You control what you can control. We’re fully committed to getting this right.
“We’ve prepared the best we can and it never changes; try and be the best you can every day.”
Blues Team News
Blues will be without Elvis Bwomono for the trip to Walsall as the right-back is away on international duty with Uganda, having won his first senior cap in yesterday’s 1-0 win over South Sudan.
John White, though, is in line for his first league start of the season after the centre-back came through 45 minutes against Colchester United in midweek.
Mark Molesley remains without Kyle Taylor as he continues to recover from a hamstring problem, while Alan McCormack also remains out but is expected to return to training next week.
Saddlers striker Caolan Lavery has found some good form in recent weeks having scored three in his last six appearances for Walsall.
The Northern Irishman bagged a brace against Barrow to earn Darrell Clarke’s side a draw on the road before scoring in a losing effort to Clarke’s former side, Bristol Rovers last Saturday.
Lavery had a brief spell at Southend early in his career, making four appearances while on loan from Sheffield Wednesday, and he’ll be looking to score against his former side tomorrow.
Craig Hicks will be the man in charge tomorrow afternoon, being assisted by Chris Isherwood and Ollie Williams, with Christopher Husband sitting in as the fourth official.
This will be Hicks’ first Southend game this campaign after taking charge of three Blues games last term in matches against Coventry, AFC Wimbledon and Burton Albion.
Hicks so far this season has refereed 12 matches, issuing 35 yellows and one red, with his last appearance being Dagenham & Redbridge’s Emirates FA Cup shock win over Grimsby last Saturday.
With fans still unable to attend matches in person, Blues fans can watch Saturday’s clash with Walsall by picking up a Match Pass for iFollow Blues for £10.
Overseas supporters can pick up a pass for just £7 with the pass allowing you to catch the game on your laptop, computer, tablet or mobile device.
For more information on how you can get your Match Pass and ensure you miss none of the action at the Banks’s Stadium on iFollow Blues, click here.