Solihull Moors vs Southend United...
With two weeks of rest in their legs, Southend United take to the SportNation.bet Stadium field on Saturday afternoon in a bid to arrest their run of three straight defeats, but the Blues will have to overcome Solihull Moors who stand in their way.
It has been a baptism of fire for Phil Brown's side in their debut season in the fifth tier. They had a point snatched away from their grasp last time out, as Connor Lemonheigh-Evans netted a late winner for Torquay United, condemning Blues to their fourth defeat of the season.
They have had time to recuperate with a two-week break and will be searching for their first win since opening day, as they clash with The Moors for the first time in the club's history.
Moor Green and Solihull Borough merged to form Solihull Moors in 2007, the product is now a club desperately fighting its way out of the non-league scene of which it has remained since the formation.
The Moors came closest to escaping the National League in the 18/19 season, they finished second, just three points off Leyton Orient before being beaten by AFC Fylde in the play-off semi-final.
Solihull oversaw a turnover of management staff before the commencement of the 21/22 campaign, as they appointed the vastly experienced Neal Ardley in their bid to reach the EFL for the first time in their history.
The former AFC Wimbledon boss has taken charge of over 400 matches in his managerial career so far, a competent custodian in the dugout.
Blues have been stuck in a rut as of late, picking up just two points from their last possible 18.
Not since the first day of the 21/22 campaign have they tasted victory, that came against King’s Lynn Town.
But now Brown’s men find themselves within a three-match losing run, as FC Halifax Town, Aldershot Town and most recently Torquay all reigned victorious in what turned out to be a tough week for Southend.
This weekend’s opposition made a fast start to the season, achieving three victories and two draws from their opening six matches.
However, Ardley’s side have stumbled in their last two outings, especially their most recent as they crashed to a thumping 5-1 defeat at the hands of Dagenham and Redbridge.
From The Boss:
"I always want games coming thick and fast, I always want to be prepared for a game at the weekend and when you haven’t got that game, I would’ve said I didn’t want that." said Phil Brown
"But I’m glad it [the break] came as it took a bit of the spotlight off of us being in the lower reaches to a certain extent and it seems to have relaxed the players somewhat, when it comes to Saturday at three o’clock and the whistle goes the pressure is back on; we have to learn to deal with that as a group, as individuals and as a manager.
"In the first week [of the past two weeks], we had a real tough week, as tough as pre-season just to make life a little more uncomfortable to a certain extent, then a couple of days rest before looking at the preparation for Solihull Moors.
"But not just for Solihull Moors, it’s a massive week for us just to make sure that we get enough points on the board from the three games to hang on the shirt tails of everybody that started well, it’s a big game on Saturday and then two back-to-back home games."
Blues’ Team News:
Blues’ new signing Benji Kimpioka is available for selection for the clash in the West Midlands after completing a month-long loan deal on Thursday.
Charlie Sayers may come into the reckoning for Saturday, as Nathan Ralph sits out through suspension after receiving his fifth yellow card against Torquay two weeks ago.
Apart from Tom Clifford’s long term lay-off, there are no injury concerns facing the Blues as they head to Solihull.
Tom Bishop will be the man in the middle at the SportNation.bet Stadium on Saturday.
He has taken charge of five National League games so far this season, brandishing 26 yellow cards in that time, whilst issuing two reds.
Bishop officiated at the SportNation.bet Stadium just over a month ago, as The Moors played out a 1-1 draw with Barnet.
He will be assisted by Danny Guest and Daniel Jarvis, with Liam Corbett as fourth official.
Elsewhere in the National League:
Aldershot v Wrexham
Barnet v FC Halifax
Dagenham and Redbridge v Altrincham
Grimsby Town v Dover Athletic
Maidenhead United v King’s Lynn Town
Notts County v Woking
Torquay United v Wealdstone
Weymouth v Stockport County
Eastleigh v Boreham Wood
Tickets will not be available on the day and come off sale at 2pm from the Blues Box Office.
Collections will be from the Box Office at the front of the SportNation.bet Stadium.
Just over 500 tickets have been sold.
How to Follow:
Blues fans not making the trip to the SportNation.bet Stadium 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.