Altrincham v Southend United…
Southend United slipped into the relegation zone during the week but could again work their way above the dotted line if victorious away at Altrincham on Saturday.
Kevin Maher’s side were due to face Maidenhead United on Tuesday evening, but a COVID-19 case in the Magpies’ squad meant Blues had to watch on as Aldershot Town leapfrogged them in the standings with victory against Torquay United.
And now Southend will be doing all they can to escape the bottom three, but Altrincham will prove stern opposition after enjoying an impressive start to the 21/22 campaign.
Phil Parkinson’s side will be buoyed by their fantastic midweek comeback against table-topping Chesterfield, as they scored twice in the space of 12 minutes, including a 96th minute equaliser to hold the Spireites to a 2-2 draw.
Saturday’s meeting will be a first for both sides, having never met in their history.
The Robins, who were founded in 1891, are regulars within the National League and National League North.
And one of their most noteworthy talking points during their stay in the top two divisions of the non-league scene was their astonishing survival in the then named Conference National between 2005-2008.
In three consecutive seasons the club finished in the relegation zone but were reprieved each time due to Canvey Island pulling out of the league, as well as Scarborough and Boston United’s demotions during the three campaigns.
The Greater Manchester side were competing in the Premier Division of the Northern Premier League as recently as just four seasons ago, but, after achieving two promotions in three years, the Robins are back in the fifth tier and are battling well in the division.
Current manager Parkinson oversaw the club’s recent success, a constant in Altrincham’s meteoric rise.
Both sides have struggled to win games of late, however, Saturday’s hosts are no strangers to taking a share of the spoils.
Both sides have won just one of their last six matches in all competitions, but while Blues have lost all five of their other outings, the Robins have been defeated in just two.
Altrincham have picked up just five points from their last five matches; Maher’s side have picked up three points in that time, courtesy of their 4-1 victory over Dover Athletic.
Perhaps the largest factor separating the sides is their stark contrast in goals scored.
Parkinson’s men are amongst the highest scorers in the division with 30 goals in 16 matches so far this season, Blues have managed just 11 and have failed to score in five of their last six league outings.
From The Boss:
"The reaction of the players after the game at Grimsby, they were disappointed," said Maher.
"Despite losing, to come away from a side that are up there and be disappointed not to get something from it, hopefully shows we’re moving in the right direction.
"There’s something building, I believe there is and we’re not going to step off that in terms of the standards we demand in training.
"As with every opponent, we’ve looked at their strengths and weaknesses and we’ll have watched them, so it’ll be a good game, I think.
"We shouldn’t be afraid of anyone, but we’ll respect our opponents, but hopefully we can put a performance on, and this time come away with some points.
"Form is what it is, but you have to turn up on Saturday at three o’clock."
Blues’ Team News:
Maher hoped to have Nathan Ralph training on Thursday after recovering from a rolled ankle, he could appear for Blues this weekend.
But Abu Ogogo is still a likely absentee for Southend, the midfielder suffering with a dead leg.
Maher will monitor midfielder James Dunne after he sustained a head injury against Grimsby on Friday night.
Josh Coulson, Tom Clifford, Simeon Akinola and Jack Bridge remain out.
Adam Herczeg will be the man in the middle on Saturday.
He has refereed seven National League matches so far this season issuing 28 yellow cards in the process.
Herczeg has yet to officiate a Blues match this season, however, he has taken charge of two ties involving Altrincham already.
Danny Guest and Steven Lawson will be assisting, Mark Ryder is fourth official.
Elsewhere in the National League:
Eastleigh v Solihull Moors
Grimsby Town v Boreham Wood
King’s Lynn Town v Aldershot Town
Torquay United v FC Halifax
Wealdstone v Stockport County
Woking v Barnet
Wrexham v Bromley
Yeovil Town v Dover Athletic
Notts County v Dagenham and Redbridge
Following confirmation from Altrincham, Southend United can regrettably confirm that no further ticket sales are available for both sets of supporters.
More information here.
How to Follow:
Blues fans unable to attend Moss Lane will still be able to follow all the live action by subscribing to Blues TV where you’ll get live match commentary from the BBC Essex team from all first-team matches this season.
Blues TV costs £4.49 per month or a one-off cost of £45 for the season, with your subscription not only giving you match commentary, but also exclusive access to extended match highlights, full pre-match press conferences, interviews, features and more.
You can also follow live minute-by-minute updates on social media via the Club’s official Twitter account by following @SUFCRootsHall on Twitter, which will ensure you get all the latest news and more throughout the 2021/22 season.