Southend United v Notts County…
Southend United look to put Notts County’s play-off hopes on hold as The Magpies make the trip to Roots Hall on Saturday.
Ian Burchnall’s County sit sixth in the National League standings and will travel to Essex full of confidence after picking up two wins and a draw from their last three outings.
Kevin Maher’s Blues have hit a stumbling block in recent weeks, as they went from enjoying a 13-match unbeaten run, to losing three of their last four matches.
But Maher doesn’t want to see his side let the season peter out, and Blues will be bidding for a return to winning ways this weekend against an in-form County side looking to implant themselves further within the top seven.
And the Magpies will be gunning for a repeat performance of the one that saw them beat Southend 4-1 earlier in the campaign.
A Kyle Wootton double, accompanied by goals from Cal Roberts and Kyle Cameron, condemned Maher’s side to a resounding defeat at Meadow Lane as fullback Jason Demetriou played the final 13 minutes in goal following an injury to Steve Arnold.
Renowned as an historic club in the division, Notts County continue to fight for a return to the EFL. The Magpies are one of many big clubs in the National League that struggle to contend with the league’s tough promotion requirements.
There has been some change at the club since their convincing victory over Blues in December, former Premier League midfielder Harry Arter joined the club on loan till the end of the season, bolstering their midfield ranks which also includes former Southend loanee Zak Brunt.
Their form steady, and their style consistent, manager Burchnall has formulated a recipe for success at Meadow Lane and has his team playing some of the most attractive football in the division.
But you don’t win points for playing pretty stuff, and naivety has, at times, been displayed.
With a favourable run-in and already a three-point foothold in the top seven, County look to be heading for their third consecutive play-off campaign, and they’ll have to hope it’s a case of ‘third time lucky.’
Blues’ strong start to 2022 has tailed off in their last four matches, where Maher’s side have suffered three defeats.
But, based on their last 10 matches, Blues have picked up just one less point than the play-off-occupying Magpies, Southend picking up 15 points from their last 30 on offer.
County have lost just one of their last six league matches, a 3-0 defeat against Stockport County in which Notts County's squad was heavily hampered with sickness.
Former Östersund boss Burchnall will want to see his side winning more matches. They’ve picked up just two victories from their last eight outings in all competitions and must triumph more often if they are to maintain their grasp on the all-important top seven spots.
The Magpies have picked up eight points from their last 15 available.
From The Boss:
"It's about responding in the right way," said Maher.
"We’ll keep working hard and do the things that got us success so hopefully it turns again.
"We want to improve on what we’ve done and look at what we can do better.
"We’ve obviously watched them, and they will have watched us too but we need to get our performance right.
"We’ve missed a few important players recently and that’s contributed to maybe a couple of results but that’s football and luckily there’s always another game to focus on."
Blues’ Team News:
Noor Husin is back available for selection after returning to the country following a training camp and two matches with the Afghanistan national team. Husin was on the scoresheet in the first of those games.
Harry Cardwell could make his first start since recovering from his hamstring issue after appaearing off the bench against Yeovil Town.
Matt Dennis is also in contention as his injury, which forced him off the pitch last time out, was not as bad as first suspected.
Ollie Kensdale also suffered an injury last weekend, and he will be out for a “couple of weeks” with a thigh issue.
James Dunne is also unavailable through suspension.
Nathan Ralph, Rhys Murphy, Simeon Akinola and Abu Ogogo remain side lined.
Steven Copeland will take charge of proceedings as Blues face The Magpies.
Copeland has officiated just six National League games this season, showing 16 yellow cards in that time, and one red.
He has yet to officiate a match involving Blues this campaign.
Copeland will have Christopher Reeson and Andrew Gray in assistance, with Harry Scott 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:
Aldershot Town v Eastleigh
Barnet v Yeovil Town
Chesterfield v Grimsby Town
Dover Athletic v King’s Lynn Town
FC Halifax Town v Wealdstone
Solihull Moors v Maidenhead United
Boreham Wood v Woking
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.
Goalkeeper Steve Arnold features in this edition, along with all the usual content on the opposition, Academy, Community and more!
Following the launch of our junior insert programme at the Altrincham game, we once again have this available for this game at no extra charge, which includes the chance to win a mascot package and some fun content that our younger fans will love! Ask your nearest programme seller for one when purchasing a programme.