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25 February 2022

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Two sides flying high in the National League form guide face off tomorrow, as Southend United and Solihull Moors do battle at Roots Hall.

And Blues’ Head Coach Kevin Maher, looking ahead to the game, is expecting a tough battle against a side looking to earn their fourth straight victory.

"They’re in great form and they’re a good side who have scored a lot of goals,” said Maher.

"Winning when down to 10 men in the week shows where they’re at in terms of desire to win matches so it will be a good game.

"We’re in good form and we’re back in front of our crowd again."

At the helm, the Moors have an experienced manager in Neal Ardley, the former AFC Wimbledon boss has his side sat in fourth in the National League, having won seven of their last eight matches in all competitions.

Maher was quick to praise the 49-year-old, and the squad he has at his disposal.

"He’s [Ardley] got a good team and they’ve got some dangerous players in attacking areas that we’ll have to watch, so it sets up for a good game,” said the 45-year-old.

"We will be prepared for it, but Neal has done an excellent job there.

"He’s a good manager and he’s proven that throughout the years.

"You don’t stay in the game for as long as he has without being good at your job, so this is a tough one for us, but we’ll be ready."

Saturday’s clash is set to be a fascinating encounter between two in-form sides who like to play on the front-foot.

Blues stretched their unbeaten run to 10 matches on Tuesday evening, after coming from a goal behind to draw 1-1 at Eastleigh, and despite initial disappointment at not taking the victory, Maher felt that, on reflection, his side displayed a good performance in Hampshire.

"When you look back at the performance I think it was a lot better than some people suggested,” said Blues’ Head Coach.

"We’ve come a long way in a short space of time, people may think we weren’t as good, but if you look back at it we dominated possession and had chances.

"I’m delighted with the players and this group doesn’t know when they’re beaten.

"Coming from a goal down away from home and getting a point is good going for me.”

The Blues boss opted for an unchanged line-up in his side’s last outing.

And despite being pleased with his team’s showing, Maher insists that those not included at present are pushing closely behind for a starting spot.

"There’s the option [regarding competition for places].

"The ones who are on the bench and not in the squad are pushing the others which makes it healthy.

"But the ones who went out the other night did ever so well.

"So we’re in a good position and one where we wanted to be, you’ve got to perform to stay in the team.”

But Southend will be sweating on the fitness of young left-back Tom Clifford, who was forced off at half-time with an ankle injury on Tuesday night.

And Maher told that there is no further clarity on the extent of his lay-off.

"He took a knock on his ankle.

"We will assess him tomorrow and see where he is with that."

Tickets for the game, Blues' first home Saturday fixture for three months, are available here. 

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