Boreham Wood v Southend United…
After their first full week of training under the leadership of Kevin Maher, Southend United will be looking to achieve their first victory since the appointment of the head coach as they make the trip to Boreham Wood tomorrow.
The Blues' tough start to the 21/22 campaign continued last weekend, as they suffered a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Dagenham & Redbridge.
And, whilst Saturday’s opposition offer a stern test sitting third in the National League standings, there is a renewed sense of hope that Maher and his recently appointed backroom team can stop the rot.
But it’ll be a tough ask for Blues, who found themselves on the end of a defeat against the Wood just last season in the FA Cup first round.
The two sides couldn’t be separated after 120 minutes, but a 4-3 penalty shoot-out victory saw Luke Garrard’s team progress to the second round, whilst the then League Two Southend outfit extended their winless run to the 20/21 season.
The Wood were formed in 1948, similarly to several other National League sides it came about through a merger, in their case between Boreham Rovers and Royal Retournez.
The club has enjoyed plenty of non-league success in the last 20 years, and their promotion to the National League via the play-offs in the 14/15 campaign was their biggest achievement, they gathered the lowest average attendance in the National League South that season.
The club has been on an upward trajectory under chairman Danny Hunter, and his appointment of current manager Garrard in 2015 was particularly shrewd, the young boss playing his part in taking the club to the next level.
Despite the departure of key man Kabongo Tshimanga in the summer, The Wood currently sit third in the standings, as they push for a spot in the EFL which has yet to be achieved by the club.
Maher’s side will be hopeful that the form guide has no bearing on Saturday’s match, as they have picked up just one league victory in their last 10 outings.
Blues sit 21stth in the table, having picked up just eight points from a possible 33 so far this campaign.
The Wood’s form has been in stark contrast, as they have clinched eight victories in their 13 matches so far and have won four of their last six league outings.
Garrard’s side were defeated last Saturday however, as Chesterfield beat them 2-1 to leapfrog them into second place.
From The Boss:
"It’s important we had the full week without a game to get on the grass and work with the players,” said Maher.
"We got a lot of work into them, a lot of football into them and some principles we want with the ball and without the ball. We’ve still got some work to do but good to get them on the grass and they’ve worked very hard.
"We’ll get to know the players better, what makes them tick individually.
"You have to work at the right intensity and if you don’t then you probably won’t last, that’s for training as well, so we have to get that into them.
"We want to get some more confidence on the ball, there’s lots of things we’re working on, in terms of shape to get to where we want to get to and it’s not going to happen overnight.
"They’re going to come thick and fast now, we have to be ready for it.
"We’ve got to earn the right to play football, we know that."
Blues’ Team News:
Simeon Akinola will remain out with a knee problem, which is still being assessed.
Full-backs Nathan Ralph and Jason Demetriou are doubtful for Saturday’s clash, the duo have yet to feature under Maher’s management.
Steve Arnold returned to training in the week and should be fit to return in goal for Blues at LV Bet Stadium, Meadow Park.
New signings Zak Brunt and Kacper Lopata could be involved for the first time since joining from Sheffield United on loan.
Taking charge of proceedings on Saturday will be Aaron Jackson.
Jackson has officiated four National League fixtures so far this season, brandishing 12 yellow cards in that time, he is yet to show a red.
He has yet to officiate a Southend match.
He will be assisted by Joshua Crofts and Christopher Myatt, with Lawrence Torz-Brown as fourth official.
Elsewhere in the National League:
Bromley v FC Halifax
Dagenham and Redbridge v Chesterfield
Dover Athletic v Stockport County
Eastleigh v Maidenhead United
Grimsby Town v Notts County
Solihull Moors v Yeovil Town
Weymouth v King’s Lynn Town
Woking v Altrincham
Wrexham v Torquay United
Barnet v Aldershot Town
Tickets are being sold directly through Boreham Wood's website for this National League fixture.
Admission prices and more information about the game, including details a minute's applause that will take place in memory of Sir David Amess, can be found here.
How to Follow:
Blues fans not heading to Meadow Park on Saturday 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.