Southend United vs Newport County...
Blues’ final game of the season sees them entertain Newport County at Roots Hall tomorrow afternoon with the visitors not quite assured of a place in the play-offs just yet.
The Exiles know that a point will be enough to secure their spot at the end of season shootout, but defeat could open the door for Exeter to sneak in thanks to their superior goal difference.
After Southend’s fate was sealed last weekend and relegation confirmed, Blues boss Phil Brown has urged his players to go out there one final time and show pride in the shirt.
Southend’s 2-1 win at Barrow last weekend was only the second time this season that Blues have picked up back-to-back victories and came following another 2-1 win over Leyton Orient.
Since Phil Brown came in as manager, Southend have picked up two wins and two draws, with their only defeat coming against Colchester United.
Newport head into Saturday unbeaten in their last four thanks to four clean sheets, with a draw against Exeter being sandwiched between wins against Crawley, Scunthorpe and Cheltenham.
Tuesday 9th February 2021
Newport County 0-1 Southend United
Tom Clifford’s deflected free-kick earned Blues a thoroughly deserved 1-0 win against Newport County the last time these two sides met back in February at Rodney Parade.
After a goalless first-half, a foul on Timothee Dieng allowed Clifford the opportunity for a strike at goal, with his effort taking a wicked deflection to deceive Nick Townsend and secure Blues the win.
From The Boss
"Michael Flynn is in town and he’s a good friend of mine, on the same diploma course as me at the moment. We’ve shared many laughs over the course of the last year, but there will be no favours. He will know that.
"I’m not expecting anything from him but a very strong turn out of his team with some of the football he’s been playing this season. Relatively speaking that’s been much better than we’ve done. He’s towards the top of the league for one reason and that’s they turn up week in, week out.
"I know for a fact they will turn up on Saturday to try and win the game of football."
Blues Team News
Tom Clifford returned to training this week having been out since the trip to Exeter with a thigh injury, with the full-back in the mix for selection tomorrow.
One player likely to miss out though will be Ricky Holmes who came off at half-time against Barrow last weekend having played 45 minutes on an injured ankle.
Jason Demetriou is still suspended. Alan McCormack (calf) also remains out alongside long-term absentees Nathan Ralph, Harry Lennon, Lewis Gard (all knees) and Nile Ranger (groin).
Exiles captain Joss Labadie is the one we’re picking to look out for tomorrow afternoon following his match-winner against Cheltenham Town last weekend.
The 30-year-old’s bullet of an effort from outside the box in just the 4th minute at Rodney Parade last weekend secured a vital win for Newport over Cheltenham Town to keep them safely inside the top seven.
That took the midfielder’s tally for the season up to five goals for the campaign, adding to his previous strikes against Mansfield, Colchester, Walsall and Watford.
John Brooks will be the man in the middle of tomorrow afternoon’s clash, being assisted by Nick Greenhalgh and Akil Howson, with Declan Bourne the fourth official.
Brooks has officiated 30 games this season, mostly in the Championship, and has shown a total of 101 yellow cards and five reds. His last outing was a 2-2 draw between Reading and Swansea.
The Leicestershire referee’s last visit to Roots Hall was back in September 2017 when he oversaw a 2-1 win against Blackpool with goals from Anthony Wordsworth and Simon Cox.
With fans not able to attend Roots Hall in person, Blues supporters can watch tomorrow’s game with Newport County 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.