Southend United v Woking…
A week on from Southend United’s FA Cup First Round exit, Blues look to return to winning ways as Woking head to Roots Hall.
Despite falling short away at Chesterfield, Kevin Maher’s side will continue to draw the positives from the improved performances.
But this weekend’s visitors will be a stern test for the invigorated Blues as they currently sit 12th, having enjoyed a solid start to the 21/22 season.
And perhaps an added incentive for Blues will be that, with victory against the Cards, they could achieve back-to-back league victories for the first time this season.
It’ll be the first time the two sides have met since their FA Cup clash in 1997, Blues emerged 2-0 winners on the day, Maher’s men will be keen to make it two from two against the Surrey side.
Formed in 1887, Woking have a rich history in various tiers of the non-league system.
But perhaps their most historic and well documented success was their terrific FA Cup run in the 1990/91 campaign, they made it all the way to the fourth round, beating West Bromwich Albion 4-2 in the process and eventually crashed out at Goodison Park, Everton 1-0 victors.
In their more recent history, the Cards’ promotion back to the fifth tier in the 18/19 campaign was a notable achievement, current manager Alan Dowson leading the promotion campaign in his first season in charge of the club.
And now his side are looking at establishing themselves as a solid outfit in the National League, highlighted by their current league position.
The Cards have impressively beaten high-flying Chesterfield, Notts County and Dagenham & Redbridge so far this season.
Whilst Woking’s league position trumps that of the Blues, the Cards’ form guide isn’t so flattering.
After a relatively fast start to the campaign, Dowson’s side have been defeated in five of their last six outings in all competitions.
They are yet to draw a match this season.
Whilst Blues have also struggled, their recent form and performances offer some hope of an escape from the bottom of the fifth-tier standings.
Southend have won three of their last seven matches, and three of their last four at Roots Hall.
From The Boss:
“Off the back of a good result at home to Dover in our last league game, we’d like to build on that," said Maher.
“We’ve got a very tough game on Saturday, we know that. It’s one that if we’re not on it then they can cause us problems.
“It was disappointing to lose last week but there was a decent level of performance.
“If we can look after the ball at the right times as well as have the same attitude and application as we did against Dover, similar would be great again.
“We’re at home with our fans. 5,000 were there against Dover so I’m sure we’ll have a good following again and we want to give them something to cheer.”
Blues’ Team News:
Zak Brunt will be available for selection against the Cards, his late red card was rescinded after an appeal.
His fellow Sheffield United loanee Kacper Łopata will fly back from international duty to be involved in Saturday’s action, but the defender will be assessed on his return.
Abu Ogogo’s two-match suspension concluded as the midfielder sat out of last weekend’s cup defeat; he is also available for Maher’s selection.
Also back into the fray are Harry Phillips and Jason Demetriou, they both trained this week.
Maher is hopeful that Rhys Murphy can feature after limping off the field of play on Saturday.
Nathan Ralph has returned to training, but “Saturday might be too soon” for the full back.
Josh Coulson, Tom Clifford and Simeon Akinola are all out long-term for the Blues.
Ryan Atkin will be the man in the middle for Saturday’s clash.
Atkin has so far taken charge of two National League fixtures this season, brandishing seven yellow cards and two reds in that time.
The referee’s last visit to Roots Hall came when Gary Waddock’s Southend side drew 3-3 against Fleetwood Town.
Atkin will be assisted by Hugh Gilroy and Gary Jerden; Kirsty Dowle will be fourth official.
Elsewhere in the National League:
Aldershot Town v Grimsby Town
Altrincham v Boreham Wood
Chesterfield v Weymouth
King’s Lynn Town v Wrexham
Maidenhead United v Dagenham and Redbridge
Notts County v Solihull Moors
Torquay United v Dover Athletic
Wealdstone v Barnet
Yeovil Town v Eastleigh
Stockport County v Bromley
How to Follow:
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 features an interview with striker Rhys Murphy, in-depth opposition insight, a 'chance meetings' feature and usual updates from the Academy and Shrimpers Trust.
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.