Cheltenham Town vs Southend United...
Southend United’s first game of a hectic month of March takes place this evening as Mark Molesley’s Blues travel to take on Cheltenham Town in League Two (7pm KO).
Having won two and drawn one of their last three away trips, Southend will head to the Jonny-Rocks Stadium in confident mood as they look to pick some more vital points on the road.
The Robins though will provide another stern test of Blues’ fighting characteristics with Michael Duff’s side currently third in the table and in reach of league leaders Cambridge.
Saturday’s 0-0 draw against Salford was another positive result for Blues having come into the weekend off the back of a superb 3-1 win at Forest Green Rovers in midweek.
Southend have lost just two of their last six matches, losing to Bolton and Port Vale, while picking up wins against Forest Green and Newport and draws against Cambridge and Salford.
Cheltenham have won four of their last five games thanks to wins against Harrogate, Walsall, Cambridge and Scunthorpe, with their only blip in that run coming in a 2-0 defeat to Bradford.
Last League Meeting
Saturday 17th October 2020
Southend United 0-2 Cheltenham Town
Sercombe (p)10’, Lloyd 52’
Cheltenham Town picked up the three points the last time these two sides met back in October with goals from Liam Sercombe and George Lloyd the difference between the sides.
Sercombe put the Robins in front in the 10th minute from the penalty spot after Lloyd was fouled by Brandon Goodship before Lloyd glanced in a Chris Hussey cross for the second after the restart.
From The Boss
"We seem to time playing teams very well at the moment; they always seem to be flying and top of the form table!
"We’ve got to use that as a great incentive, a great challenge. The fact that we’re competing with these so-called big teams now shows how far we’ve come.
"They’re very well organised, defensively very strong and can hurt you in a range of ways. That’s the challenge ahead of us. We’re certainly being hard to beat but there’s always room for improvement.”
Blues Team News
Mark Molesley is working on bringing in an emergency goalkeeper ahead of this evening’s visit to Cheltenham after Alex Bass was injured 45 minutes into his debut on Saturday.
Bass’ absence combined with the injury to Mark Oxley (groin) leaves Harry Seaden, who impressed in the second-half against Salford, as Blues’ only recognised goalkeeper.
Nile Ranger (groin) will miss out as he awaits the results of a scan, while Molesley is hopeful that Simeon Akinola (quad/back) will be available after both were forced off on Saturday.
Sam Hart (groin) has yet to return to training, but James Olayinka (ankle), Terrell Egbri (hamstring) and Jacob Mellis (fitness) are all back, but tonight is likely to come too soon for the midfield trio.
On-loan Leicester City midfielder Callum Wright has impressed in his brief time with Cheltenham having joined the Robins on loan at the start of February.
The 20-year-old scored a superb winner on his Cheltenham debut against Walsall before backing that up with another well-taken goal in their 2-0 win against Scunthorpe on Saturday.
Wright’s versatility allows him to be comfortable in any position across the midfield and he’s already shown he’ll be a tricky customer for the Blues defence to fend off tonight.
Will Finnie is this evening’s referee at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium, being assisted by Kevin Howick and Christopher Kidd, with Carl Brook the fourth official.
Finnie has overseen 23 games so far this season, brandishing a total of 64 yellow cards and three reds, with his last match being the 2-1 defeat for Colchester at home to Exeter last Tuesday.
Tonight will be Finnie’s second Cheltenham game of the season after taking charge of them at Oldham in November, and first Southend game since November 2019 against AFC Wimbledon.
With fans unable to attend matches in person, Blues fans can watch tonight’s clash with Cheltenham Town 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 the Jonny-Rocks Stadium, click here.
Please note, due to current BBC guidelines relating to travel during the national lockdown, 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 Cheltenham commentary via the settings cog.