Southend United v Dover Athletic...
As Southend United continue to search for some relief from their tough start to the season, they welcome Dover Athletic, who sit rock bottom of the National League standings, tonight as Kevin Maher takes charge of his first match in the dugout at Roots Hall.
It is a hugely important fixture for Blues, and they can draw plenty of positives from their performance on Saturday, when they were narrowly beaten 1-0 by the table-topping Boreham Wood.
Andy Hessenthaler’s side have yet to win this season, while Maher’s men will try to clinch their first victory under the new coaching team.
And they will be eager to avoid a repeat of the proceedings when the two side’s last met as, despite a two-division difference, The Whites edged past a Sol Campbell managed Southend side, winning by a goal to nil in the FA Cup First Round.
After the dissolution of Dover FC, Dover Athletic were founded in 1983.
With a rich history at various levels in the non-league scene the club has overseen plenty of highs and lows.
However, the implications of COVID-19 put The Whites through particularly testing times, eventually leading to their results being expunged in the 20/21 campaign along with a £40,000 fine and a -12 point deduction for the following season.
And now Hessenthaler’s side face an incredibly tough task of trying to remain in the fifth tier, whilst combatting the points disadvantage along with their recovery from the pandemic.
Southend will be looking to improve upon their recent results with just one win in their last 11 league outings.
But the home side will feel confident of achieving a positive result as the visitors have picked up just three points so far this season.
Hessenthaler’s men have yet to taste victory and as a result have made just a small dent in the point difference required to ensure them safety.
The Blues have picked up three points from their last five matches, whilst Dover haven’t registered a single point from their previous five outings.
From The Boss:
“When you look at when we first came in, I think there’s been an improvement and we want to improve again on Tuesday night,” said Maher.
“We’ve had two tough away games, now we can get back home in front of our fans and hopefully we can give them something to cheer.
“The strikers have had to do a lot of work defensively
“In the final third we want to get them on the ball a bit more so that’s the next step for us.
“We know it’ll be a tough game but it’s one we look forward to and hopefully the players can go and express themselves in front of our crowd.
“It’ll be a massive honour [to be back at Roots Hall], but I have to put that to one side because I know we’ve got to perform and start picking up results.
“A club like us should be looking to win football matches, recent history tells you we haven’t done anywhere near enough of that.”
Blues’ Team News:
Abu Ogogo’s sending off on Saturday will see him serve a two-match suspension, thus making him unavailable to feature against The Whites.
Full-backs Nathan Ralph and Jason Demetriou remain unavailable for selection, Ralph missing due to a fractured toe and Demetriou with a slight groin problem.
Simeon Akinola will also be missing; the striker is set to see a specialist for his knee injury.
Josh Coulson and Tom Clifford remain long-term absentees.
Daniel Middleton will be calling the shots as The Blues host Dover.
Middleton has taken charge of 84 games since the 2017/18 season, most of which in the fifth tier.
He refereed The Shrimpers’ debut match in the National League, as Phil Brown’s side edged past King’s Lynn 1-0.
He issued a red card and four yellows in that match.
Elsewhere in the National League:
Woking v Bromley
How to Follow:
Tickets are on sale for the game from the Blues Box Office online, on the phone (0344 477 0077) or in person. Tickets cost £20 for adults, £15 for concessions, £10 for juniors (9-16) and £5 for children (8 and under).
Blues fans unable to attend Roots Hall 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.
The matchday programme ‘Roots Review’ will be available to buy outside the stadium from the programme hut and the West Stand ticket office.
The programme hut is based at the bottom of the main car park off Victoria Avenue, which along with a dedicated programme only window at the west stand ticket office, will be the two main points for supporters to buy a programme.
Reduced quantities will be available from some bars and kiosks also.
A digital matchday programme can be bought via MatchDay Digital.