Dover Athletic v Southend United…
Southend United will be looking to keep the good times rolling as they head to the Crabble Athletic Ground on Saturday, to face National League bottom side Dover Athletic.
31 points separate the two sides going into the fixture, but Blues will still be wary of the threat that their opposition pose, with Dover coming into the game off the back of their first league victory of the season on Tuesday night.
Morale is high in the Southend camp after a good run of form and an unbeaten start to 2022, but head coach Kevin Maher will be fully focused on the task at hand, taking home all three points on Saturday.
And he’ll be keen to see a repeat performance from his side from when the two sides last met, Blues emerged 4-1 victors at Roots Hall to earn their first ever victory under Maher’s guise back in November.
Dover’s struggles have been well documented this season, and even without their -12 point deduction, they’d still be rooted to the bottom of the National League table.
The Whites are 30 points from safety, but manager Andy Hessenthaler has refused to give in, evident from their 1-0 victory against Eastleigh on Tuesday evening.
But ultimately, they’ve lost 20 of their 25 matches played so far this season, while possessing the leakiest defence and the least potent attack in the division.
While they undoubtedly will have one eye on relegation this season, they’ve still made some shrewd transfers with fullback Myles Judd and forward Michael Gyasi joining the club.
Both featured in their midweek victory and they’ll by no means be easy opponents.
Blues have found their feet in the National League over the last month, their five match unbeaten run stretches back to their Boxing Day 1-1 draw against Bromley.
And their most recent share of the spoils away at Aldershot Town meant that Maher’s side have picked up 11 points from their last possible 15.
Moreover, Blues have only lost one of their last eight league matches and now find themselves 10 points clear of the drop zone.
Their opponents on Saturday haven’t enjoyed a run quite like that yet this season.
For their Tuesday night 1-0 victory was their first league win in 364 days.
The Whites have lost eight of their last 10 matches, but the victory against Eastleigh and 1-1 draw with Yeovil show that there is plenty of fight in their side and they can always spring a surprise result.
From The Boss:
"This league is so tough and if you’re not on it, against whoever you play, then you will come unstuck very easily.
"Saturday is no different and we will prepare properly and make sure the standards they’ve set remain the same.
"If you’re in the team you can’t afford to come off it because there’s competition for places.
"It will be a tough one, Hess’ [Andy Hessenthaler] teams will always be competitive.
"When we played them at home they were in the game for long periods, and they will be buoyed by the win on Tuesday.
"It’s a tough one but it’s one we’ll be ready for.”
Blues’ Team News:
Blues midfielder Harrison Neal will sit out of Saturday’s clash at Crabble as he serves a two-match suspension after picking up his 10th yellow card of the season on Tuesday evening.
Maher will make a late call on the fitness of Matt Dennis, the Norwich City loanee was forced to miss Blues’ midweek clash due to a hamstring issue.
Jack Bridge played 45 minutes in Southend’s 1-0 Premier League Cup victory over Colchester United on Tuesday, but Maher is easing the winger in slowly after his injury layoff.
Rhys Murphy and Abu Ogogo remain out, Blues number nine undergoing an operation on Thursday morning.
Ryan Atkin will be the man in the middle as Blues head to the South East coast.
He has refereed six National League fixtures so far this season, showing 22 yellow cards and three reds.
Atkin visited Roots Hall back in November, as he took charge of Southend’s clash against Woking.
He will have Ayrton Hursey and Andrew Gray in assistance, Hugh Gilroy will be fourth official.
Tickets are available at the ground on the day only.
Seated tickets are £19.50 for an adult, £16 for over 60, £10 for under 18, free for under 11 if accompanied by an adult and free for carers.
Terraced tickets are £18 for adults, £15 for over 60, £9 for under 18 and free for under 11 and carers.
Elsewhere in the National League:
Barnet v Stockport County
Boreham Wood v King’s Lynn Town
Bromley v Notts County
Dagenham and Redbridge v FC Halifax
Grimsby Town v Wealdstone
Solihull Moors v Altrincham
Weymouth v Aldershot Town
Woking v Yeovil Town
Wrexham v Maidenhead United
Eastleigh v Chesterfield
How to Follow:
Blues fans unable to attend the Crabble Athletic Ground 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.