Port Vale vs Southend United...
Following a succession of home games, Southend United are back on the road tomorrow afternoon as they travel to Stoke-on-Trent to take on managerless Port Vale in League Two.
Both sides have found it difficult to pick up wins in recent matches and will view Saturday’s contest as a chance to bounce back after defeats in midweek.
And with another opportunity on the table for Blues to climb out of the relegation zone should they pick up a win at Vale Park it’s an opportunity Mark Molesley hopes his side can capitalise on.
Defeat to Bradford on Tuesday night at Roots Hall was Southend’s third straight defeat in the league following on from reversals against Mansfield and Cambridge.
In all, Blues are without a win in their last four matches with their last victory coming against Barrow in their opening game of 2021.
Vale are in similar form to Blues but have picked up one more point than Southend in their last six games. The home side go into this one off the back of a 2-0 defeat to Scunthorpe on Tuesday.
Saturday 31st October 2020
Southend United 0-2 Port Vale
Pope 48’, 64
Tom Pope’s second-half double secured a 2-0 win for Port Vale at Roots Hall the last time these two sides met at the end of October.
After some heroics from Mark Oxley to keep the Valiants at bay, Pope headed the visitors in front just after the restart before heading in a second to wrap up the points.
From The Boss
"We had a bad week, we're the first to hold our hands up.
"It was a frustrating week where we lost a couple of key players at key times, a couple of players had knocks and were nursing them. They are only excuses but it emphasised the fact that we need all our players fit and firing.
"This is a very unforgiving league and a week in football is a long time. We've got to make sure that we put that right straight away. That's with us on the training field with the squad we've got, and if one or two players become available that we feel are going to further enhance that then we will be jumping on that.
"They are [struggling for form themselves] and a wounded animal, I've said it before, is dangerous. This league shows that anyone can beat anyone. Another tough challenge awaits on a big pitch. We've got to make sure that we've fixed a couple of bits where we came up short.
"But we want to build on the positives that we started to see over the last month. We created some really good chances and the games have been in the balance and unfortunately we've made some small errors and been punished. When games are in the balance it's either punish or be punished, and this week it's been the latter which has been a real frustration to us.
"All that can do is fuel our fire to want to improve that, stop that and get that win."
Blues Team News
Midfielder Timothee Dieng is back available for selection this weekend after the Frenchman served a one-game ban for his sending off against Mansfield last Saturday.
Terrell Egbri is pushing for a return after being out for a hamstring injury, but Saturday is likely to come too soon for striker Brandon Goodship who’s building up his fitness after a rib problem.
Alan McCormack will definitely miss out due to a calf injury that saw him limp off against Mansfield, while Elvis Bwomono continues to nurse a back problem but is expected to travel this weekend.
Port Vale Dangerman
Tom Conlon has been one of the standout performers for Vale and a consistent presence in their midfield, and he is certainly one of the Port Vale’s biggest threats on Saturday.
The 24-year-old is a huge influence in the middle of the park for Vale and can be deadly from set-pieces, both in his delivery of corners and crosses and in his execution of free-kicks.
Following the suspension of club captain Leon Legge, Conlon has since picked up the armband as well just to prove how much of a key player he is for the Staffordshire side.
Saturday will see Carl Brook take charge of proceedings, being assisted by Daniel Flynn and Martyn Holmes, with Mark Cunliffe sitting in as the fourth official.
Across Brook’s 17 games this season he’s issued 56 yellow cards and two reds, with his last outing being Cheltenham’s 2-0 win against Oldham in midweek.
Brook has yet to take charge of Blues having officiated in the National League for the last four seasons, but he has featured at Vale Park once already in a 4-3 defeat for Vale against Tranmere.
With fans unable to attend matches in person, Blues fans can watch tomorrow’s clash with Port Vale 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 for iFollow Blues and ensure you miss none of the action at Vale Park, click here.
Please note, due to current BBC guidelines relating to travel to and from a Tier 4 area, the BBC Essex commentary team will not be able to provide match commentary for the game. Instead, you will have a choice of listening to ambient stadium noise or you can switch to Port Vale’s commentary via the settings cog.