Southend United vs Cambridge United...
Southend United entertain high-flying Cambridge United this evening at Roots Hall in the first of three successive home games for Mark Molesley’s side in the next eight days.
Tonight’s fixture is a rearranged game from mid-November after Blues were unable to field a side due to positive COVID cases compounding Southend’s long injury list.
Since then, Molesley’s Blues have found some form but they’ll face a tough examination under the lights in Essex against a U’s side who sit just one point from the top of the League Two table.
Blues come into tonight off the back of a 0-0 draw away at Grimsby Town on Saturday, Southend’s third clean sheet in their last four matches.
Mark Molesley’s side have picked up three wins and two draws from their last six matches, with a 2-0 defeat to Leyton Orient the only blot on their recent record.
Cambridge too have picked up three wins from their last six and are unbeaten in their last three thanks to wins against Grimsby and Harrogate before drawing against Colchester on Saturday.
Tuesday 4th September 2018
Southend United 3-1 Cambridge United
McCoulsky 55’, 64’, Hutchinson 83’; Lambe 52’
Blues started their Checkatrade Trophy group campaign off with a resounding 3-1 win against Cambridge United the last time these two sides met back in 2018.
Reggie Lambe headed the visitors in front just after the interval before two goals in nine minutes from Shawn McCoulsky and a memorable debut goal for Isaac Hutchinson gave Blues the win.
From The Boss
“It’s a really tough game coming up, and Cambridge started off really well this season, they’ve got some great players and find themselves competing for that top spot at the moment.
“We’ve got our work cut out but at the same time our groups on an upward spiral, and we’re growing all the time.
“We just had a challenging away trip against Grimsby on Saturday with tough conditions, but Cambridge had very similar if not identical conditions against Colchester with the pitch so they will be feeling the effects from that, but games like tonight are always going to come down to who can physically prepare the best and prove that on the pitch.”
The gaffer also touched on James Olayinka's injury from Grimsby:
“We’ve unfortunatley lost James to injury again, we’re currently waiting for a scan result to come back to see the full extent of that tackle from Saturday, but until then we don't know.
“Other than that we just have a few bumps and bruises that have appeared after a tough battle but the games are coming thick and fast and it’s all part of being a League Two player.
“Long away journeys, difficult playing surfaces it’s all part of the experience in this division but we can’t use those as excuses, instead we have to embrace those challenges.”
Blues Team News
Mark Molesley was cautious with his substitutions on Saturday, only bringing on one sub in the 0-0 draw against Grimsby meaning he should have plenty of fit options to choose from tonight.
Kyle Taylor and Tom Clifford both returned from illness and injury respectively to be unnamed subs at the weekend and they’ll both be pushing for a start this evening.
Greg Halford, fresh off signing a new deal until the end of the season, is back and available again for selection having served his one-match ban for his sending off against Barrow.
Striker Paul Mullin is undoubtedly going to be Cambridge’s biggest threat in front of goal with the 26-year-old currently leading the League Two scoring charts.
Mullin has 18 goals in 23 league games and 20 overall in all competitions, including hat-tricks against Morecambe and Port Vale, and braces against Newport, Scunthorpe and Colchester.
It took just 10 games this term for Mullin to surpass his career-best goal tally for a season and he’s showing no signs of slowing down, so Blues will need to be at the top of their game tonight.
Robert Madley will take charge of proceedings at Roots Hall, being assisted by Daniel Cook and Stephen Brown, while Ryan Whitaker will fill in as the fourth official.
This season is Madley’s first back in football after a two-year hiatus and so far this season he’s officiated 14 matches, showing 43 yellow cards and just the one red.
The West Yorkshire official was last at Roots Hall in February 2017 when goals from Marc-Antoine Fortune, Simon Cox and Ryan Leonard earnt Southend a 3-1 win against Scunthorpe.
With fans not able to attend Roots Hall in person, Blues supporters can watch tonight’s clash with Cambridge by picking up a Match Pass on iFollow Blues for £10.
A Match Pass will allow you to watch the game on your laptop, computer, tablet or mobile device with Season Ticket holders already having access to their pass via their iFollow account.
For more information on how you can get your Match Pass and ensure you miss none of the action at Roots Hall on iFollow Blues, click here.