Southend United vs Harrogate Town...
Blues get their League Two campaign underway this weekend as they host Football League newcomers Harrogate Town to Roots Hall on Saturday.
And while it’ll be a historic day for the visitors, it’ll also be a special day for Southend boss Mark Molesley who’ll take charge of his first league game as Blues boss since joining from Weymouth.
189 days removed from Southend’s last win and last league game before last season’s curtailment, Molesley will be hoping his side can get off to the perfect start with another victory this weekend.
Southend go into the weekend off the back of consecutive cup defeats having fallen to Gillingham in the Carabao Cup and West Ham u21s in the EFL Trophy.
Despite this, Molesley’s men can look towards Saturday with optimism having been terribly unlucky against the League One Gills before making eight changes for Tuesday’s defeat to the Hammers.
Harrogate’s first two competitive games as a League club both ended in penalties with a 1-1 draw at Tranmere in the Carabao Cup being followed up by a 2-2 draw at Grimsby in the EFL Trophy.
This will be the first time the two sides have ever met. This season will be Harrogate’s first in the Football League in their 106-year history, with the two sides having never previously been drawn against each other in the Emirates FA Cup either.
From the Boss
"I want an energetic approach straight away," said Molesley.
"We've got to believe in ourselves and commit to our processes. We've got to try the things that we're working on and really believe in it.
"That's what we're looking for, that energy and that belief.
"It’s a game of how you deal with both boxes and we need to be ruthless at both ends of the field."
Blues Team News
The Blues boss said there will be some ‘checks’ to make ahead of Saturday’s league opener but two that are certain to miss out are Harry Lennon and Tom Clifford.
Lennon picked up a calf injury in pre-season against Millwall and having been out for long previously, Molesley and his staff are taking extra precautions with him at the moment.
Clifford has been out since the Charlton friendly with a groin problem but should be back in training at some point next week to boost Blues’ defensive options.
Shaun Hobson is in line to make his Blues league debut, having been rested along with Isaac Hutchinson in midweek, while Timothee Dieng is a doubt despited returning against Gillingham.
Jack Muldoon will certainly be the one to watch on Saturday having been Town’s top goalscorer in each of the last two seasons, making him a huge threat for Blues at the weekend.
The striker has grabbed some vital goals for Town since joining from AFC Fylde in 2018, maybe none more so than the winner in their play-off semi-final back in July which sent Harrogate to Wembley.
Muldoon is an experienced pro at 31 and has had success not only at Harrogate but with likes of Fylde and also Lincoln City who he helped gain promotion to the Football League.
Antony Coggins will take charge of Southend’s league opener on Saturday, with Daniel Cook and Aaron Farmer running the line while Conor Farrell stands in as the fourth official.
Coggins officiated Southend twice last season, both games that Southend won, overseeing Blues’ 1-0 win at MK Dons before a 2-1 win at Accrington Stanley.
Last season, Coggins took charge of 24 matches, issuing 79 yellows and just the one red, and he last officiated Plymouth Argyle’s 3-2 Carabao Cup win against Queens Park Rangers.
With the match being played behind-closed-doors due to the latest Government guidelines regarding Covid-19, no Blues or Town fans will be able to attend the game in person.
But you don’t have to miss out as you can still watch the game and cheer Mark Molesley’s side on from the comfort of your own home as the match will be streamed live on iFollow Blues.
For more information on how you can gain access and watch the match live, please check out our article with all the information you need by clicking here.