Halifax Town v Southend United…
Whilst being robust and tough to beat, Southend United have yet to taste victory since their 1-0 victory away at King's Lynn on opening day.
The Blues looked to be on their way to picking up all three points last time out as they took a two-goal lead against a well-backed Wrexham side, but a quick-fire double put pay to ambitions of a points maximum as they were forced to take a share of the spoils.
Phil Brown’s side have picked up four points from a possible six away from home so far this season, and a win could propel Blues into the top half of the early Vanarama National League standings.
Halifax Town and Southend have not met since the Shaymen’s reformation in 2008.
Halifax finished in a very respectable 10th position in the Vanarama National League last season.
However, they have lost key members of their squad this summer, most notably Jake Hyde and Jeff King as they moved on to Wrexham and Chesterfield respectively.
The club was reformed 13 years ago having been unable to pay their crippling debts, thus forcing them down the non-league ladder.
Since then, the Shaymen have yet to return to the Football League, where they resided when Blues boss Brown played and captained the club between 1985 and 1988, winning the supporters' player of year in his final season.
The closest they came to a return to the top four tiers occurred in the 13/14 season, as they finished fifth in the National League.
Saturday’s hosts are one point better off than Southend from their first four matches, having picked up six points from a possible 12 so far this campaign.
Unlike the Blues, Halifax have yet to draw a match, emerging victorious twice while also falling to defeat twice.
Pete Wild’s side managed to see off Altrincham by two goals to nil a week after beating Woking 3-2, however they suffered defeats against Maidenhead United and Yeovil Town either side of the triumphs.
In comparison, the visiting Blues have been held to draws twice so far, against Wealdstone and Wrexham, and suffered defeat against Stockport County two weeks ago, after defeating King’s Lynn Town on the opening day.
From The Boss:
"I’m going back to where it all started,” said Phil Brown.
"Everybody thinks Hartlepool is the place it all started; yes it’s where I made my debut and played 200 odd games, but my first move south, as it were, was to Halifax Town so I’ve got really fond memories of the place.
"They say once a Shayman, always a Shayman, and that is true. I’ve got fond memories of the area, fond memories of the people and the football club, but I’ll not be fond of them on Saturday that is for sure.
"The ex-player’s association have invited me to the boardroom after the game so it’s nice to know that I’m still regarded in those circumstances, but bottom line is I’m going there simply with one thing in my mind which is to win the game.
"If we win the game it could kickstart our season. We’ve got to get back to that winning way and that has to start on Saturday at Halifax Town."
Blues’ Team News:
Left-back Tom Clifford remains a long-term absentee with his injury sustained in pre-season.
After suffering concussion in last weekend’s outing against Wrexham, Blues boss Brown declared Nathan Ralph as ‘touch and go’ for the trip to West Yorkshire, but will wait upon guidance as to whether the left-back can feature.
Summer signing Abu Ogogo is nearing a return, but Saturday may come slightly too soon after he was forced off the pitch with a hamstring problem against Stockport.
Blues’ most recent recruit, Will Atkinson, featured for the U23’s on Monday evening and is pushing to feature come Saturday.
Andrew Miller will be the man in the middle at the Shay on Saturday.
He has only ever officiated Southend in the capacity of a fourth official, it will be his first time calling the shots against the Blues.
Miller has taken charge of one National League fixture so far this season, refereeing Stockport’s 3-1 defeat on opening day against Dagenham and Redbridge, he issued five yellow cards on the day.
He was last involved in a Southend game during Mark Molesley's second league match in charge of the club, as his side fell to a 2-0 defeat away at Carlisle United last season.
Elsewhere in the National League:
Aldershot Town v Solihull Moors
Barnet v Eastleigh
Bromley v Boreham Wood
Dover Athletic v Chesterfield
Stockport County v Yeovil Town
Torquay United v Grimsby Town
Wealdstone v Altrincham
Weymouth v Notts County
Wrexham v Woking
King’s Lynn Town v Dagenham and Redbridge
How to Follow:
The best way will be at the Shay Stadium where tickets are only on sale on the day from the turnstiles - more details here.
Blues fans not making the trip to West Yorkshire 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.
Please note, if technical difficulties are encountered then please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.