Southend United v FC Halifax Town…
After a return to winning ways on Easter Monday, Southend United look to correct their home form as they welcome promotion chasing FC Halifax Town to Roots Hall.
Blues beat Barnet 3-1 at The Hive on Monday to end a run of five consecutive league defeats.
The Shaymen head to Essex this weekend with second place in their sights, sitting one place and one point behind Wrexham, who currently occupy the runners-up position.
Blues and Halifax met for the first time since the latter’s reformation back in September.
Then led by Phil Brown, Southend lost 3-1, with Jordan Slew, Billy Waters and Niall Maher all on target for the Shaymen, making Rhys Murphy’s late goal a mere consolation.
Halifax’s impressive campaign has caught many by surprise, largely because of their relative lack of spending compared to others around them in the standings.
Pete Wild has formulated a recipe for success at The Shay, mixing tenacity, youth, and National League knowhow.
The West Yorkshire side possess the best defensive record of any side in the division.
Wild’s efforts from the dugout have led to early shouts for manager of the season, and it’d be hard to argue that the 37-year-old doesn’t deserve acknowledgement for such endeavour this season, whether his side make it through the tumultuous playoff system or not.
The Shaymen could mathematically ensure a top seven finish at Roots Hall on Saturday, and given their consistent form and relentless intensity, it is the least Wild’s side deserves.
Blues ended their sticky run with a confidence boosting victory over Barnet on Monday.
The win halted a run of five consecutive defeats and four matches without scoring.
But Kevin Maher’s side have lost three of their last four matches at Roots Hall, and the Blues boss will be keen to put on a crowd-pleasing performance once again.
In opposition, the Shaymen have lost just two of their last 14 league matches.
Last time out, Wild’s side comfortably beat fifth-placed Chesterfield 2-0, to stretch their unbeaten run to five matches.
Halifax have picked up 11 points from their last 15 on offer, while Blues have picked up three.
From The Boss:
"Halifax are a good side and they’ve been up there for the majority of the season,” said Maher.
"They’re in decent form and we know how tough it’s going to be.
"They’re a hard working side and a good side too so it’s a tough game, we know that.
"But off the back of a win we’ll look to give a good account of ourselves and I’m sure we’ll have another good crowd in."
Blues’ Team News:
Harrison Neal is back available after missing out in the 3-1 victory against Barnet last time out.
Tom Clifford, however, has not yet returned to training after being forced off at half-time at The Hive.
Maher conceded that he does not expect Rhys Murphy to play again this season as he continues to recover from a long-term layoff.
Nathan Ralph, Abu Ogogo and Simeon Akinola remain out and all look set to follow suit like Murphy. Out of the three, Ralph has the only chance of being able to feature again this season, but still a slim chance at that.
Robert Massey-Ellis will call the shots as the Shaymen visit Roots Hall.
He last took charge of a Blues match when Maher’s side beat Dorking Wanderers 2-1 in their debut FA Trophy appearance.
He has shown 62 yellow cards in 14 National League matches this season, and has yet to send off a player in the fifth tier this campaign.
Jeffrey Aldous and Robert Evans will assist Massey-Ellis, with Craig Green as fourth official.
Tickets are on sale for the game from the Blues Box Office online, on the phone (0344 477 0077) or in person.
Tickets cost £18 for adults, £13 for concessions and £8 for juniors (9-16) and £3 for a child (8 and under) if bought in advance of matchday. Princes increase by £2 on the day of the game.
Elsewhere in the National League:
Altrincham v Wealdstone
Boreham Wood v Bromley
Chesterfield v Dover Athletic
Dagenham and Redbridge v King’s Lynn Town
Eastleigh v Barnet
Grimsby Town v Torquay United
Notts County v Weymouth
Solihull Moors v Aldershot Town
Yeovil v Stockport County
Woking v Wrexham
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 from programme sellers outside the stadium at the programme hut, main gate off Victoria Avenue and the West Stand entrance.
Striker Harry Cardwell features in this edition, along with all the usual content on the opposition, Academy, Community and a special feature on Gary Moore including tributes from former players, family and friends.
A digital matchday programme can be bought via MatchDay Digital.
Don’t miss out on picking up a copy of our junior pull-out, which available at no extra charge.
It features lots of fun quizzes and is ideal for all young supporters.
*If you missed out on a Wealdstone programme, they will also be on sale from the programme hut. Due to a delivery issue, the quantity of programmes on sale for the game last week was significantly reduced, however they will now be available on Saturday along with the Halifax programme.