Southend United vs Eastleigh...
Phil Brown will be keen for his side to bounce back from the disappointment of four straight defeats, as Southend United do battle with Eastleigh at Roots Hall this evening.
Blues suffered a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Solihull Moors just three days ago, but now a different challenge awaits, Southend back in front of their own supporters as they take on the Spitfires.
Shrimpers boss Brown has labelled this week as ‘very important’ for his team, as they look to fight their way out of the relegation zone to which they dropped into Saturday.
But the visitors will be somewhat of an unknown quantity, as it’ll be the first time that the two clubs have met in their history.
Eastleigh are a well-adapted side to non-league football, having resided below the top four tiers for the entirety of their history.
Having been formed in 1946 named Swaythling Athletic, the Spitfires have completed a gradual rise to the top tier of non-league football over the course of their existence.
This is now their eighth season in the National League, and manager Ben Strevens’ third full campaign as permanent manager of the club, he was given the job after a spell as caretaker manager mid-way into the 18/19 term.
Strevens’ side have been knocking on the door of a promotion campaign, reaching the playoffs in the 18/19 season, they fell just short of the top seven last season, finishing ninth.
The Blues will be looking to rubbish the form guide when Eastleigh head to Roots Hall, as recent results have not favoured Brown’s side.
The Shrimpers have lost four on the bounce, beginning with a 3-1 defeat away at FC Halifax, before 3-2 and 1-0 losses to Aldershot Town and Torquay United respectively.
A 2-0 shortcoming on Saturday furthered the misery for Southend fans, who are desperate to see their side get a foothold in the fifth tier.
The visitors endured an indifferent start to the 21/22 campaign, drawing two and losing two of their opening four matches, however, Strevens’ men have perked up in recent weeks, beating Dover Athletic 4-1 and triumphing over Woking with a 3-0 victory.
The Spitfires have lost three games so far this season against Southend’s five.
From The Boss:
"I understand the frustration of the supporters,” said Brown.
"I don’t want to fight our supporters to win a game of football, I want our supporters to remember when they first watched Southend United and fall in love with the club again, fall in love with the team again.
"We have to play football the way we know we can play football and if that comes for longer periods of time and we don’t concede then there’s a chance of winning the game.
"We have good enough players to win games of football at this level, confidence will come from the fact that if we get a win under our belts, we’ll see a different breed of animal.
"You want to see commitment, and blood sweat and tears on the shirt.
"I have to cut my cloth accordingly tomorrow night by having a look at what’s available in terms of team selection and playing in a certain way that will cause Eastleigh a lot of problems and compliment the players I’m putting out there."
Blues’ Team News:
Nathan Ralph is back available for selection as he completed his one match suspension on Saturday after receiving his fifth yellow card of the season against Torquay.
Blues will be facing a shortage of central defenders as John White and Josh Coulson are both set to miss the Eastleigh clash.
White suffered a problem with his hip flexor in Saturday’s warm-up, while Coulson limped off the field of play with an ankle injury.
Abu Ogogo is also likely to be missing for the hosts, a suspected broken foot being the issue for the midfielder.
Tom Clifford remains a long-term absentee.
Robert Whitton will be calling the shots when Eastleigh come to town.
Whitton has adjudicated four matches so far this season, issuing just five yellow cards in that time.
The Braintree-based official has not refereed the Blues in first team capacity, but has in the Essex Senior Cup and friendlies, last appearing at Roots Hall as a fourth official against Oxford United.
He will be assisted by Karl Sear and Jeffrey Aldous, whilst Christopher Hastings acts as fourth official.
Elsewhere in the National League:
Altrincham v Grimsby Town
Boreham Wood v Torquay United
Bromley v Weymouth
Dover Athletic v Aldershot Town
FC Halifax v Notts County
King’s Lynn Town v Barnet
Wealdstone v Solihull Moors
Woking v Dagenham and Redbridge
Wrexham v Chesterfield
Yeovil Town v Maidenhead United
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.
Copies of the Stockport County, Wrexham and Aldershot Town programme will also be on sale from the programme hut for supporters who didn’t manage to get one.
A digital matchday programme can be bought via MatchDay Digital.