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1 March 2021

Mark Molesley says his Southend United side should look forward to facing another in-form team on Tuesday night when they travel to Cheltenham Town.

In their last five games against sides in the top 10 Blues have lost once and conceded twice whilst picking up eight points in the process.

Michael Duff’s side have won four of their previous five games, all away from home.

And ahead of facing the Robins on Tuesday (7pm kick-off) Molesley wants his players to relish another tough challenge.

"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.

"Looking to try and get a few more goals ourselves but on the whole I think from the run of games that we’ve had we’ve shown that we are up for the fight.”

Molesley will be without Alex Bass who has returned to Portsmouth due to injury having signed on an emergency loan on Saturday, and the Blues boss confirmed he is looking to bring in another goalkeeper.

Nile Ranger will also be missing through injury sustained on Saturday.

"Nile’s gone for a scan today so we’ll know the extent of that [soon]," Molesley added.

"We’re hoping it’s a low grade one, not a high grade one which will keep him out a week to 10 days.

"[It’s] Disappointing for him and us because the time he was on he showed what he is about. He caused problems straight away for their defence, flicking things on and was a handful.

"These things happen, these things happen even more to players who have been out a while."

Sam Hart, Jacob Mellis and Terrell Egbri are also not in contention for Tuesday.

"All a little bit early for them.

"Sam Hart has yet to train with the team, Jacob is definitely upping his training regime and so is Terrell.

"With the games coming thick and fast hopefully they will be up for selection, probably more likely next week than this week because they have to get a stronger foundation of work behind them."

On-loan Arsenal midfielder James Olayinka is back in team training, while Molesley said Ricky Holmes is eager to start.

"It’s still too early for James. He’s joined in team training today but he needs a minimum of a full week training into him. This week is going to be a big one to get them building blocks for him.

"Ricky is probably itching to start now.

"He’s been around us for long enough, had some cameo appearances.

"It’s great knowing now we’re going into these games that we have players like that who are getting fitter and stronger each game and ready to impact the team."

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