Weymouth v Southend United…
Saturday’s crucial clash at the bottom of the National League table sees Southend United make the lengthy trip to Dorset, as they face Weymouth who, going into the tie, are one point and league position inferior.
If either team picks up victory at the Bob Lucas Stadium, they will leave their opponents in their wake inside the relegation zone of the fifth tier.
And it’s important that Kevin Maher’s side start their 2022 well, for Saturday’s match is their first of the new year after having their squad dismantled by a Covid-19 outbreak.
With the vast majority of their squad back from isolation, Blues will be eyeing up all three points as they do battle with the Terras in their first ever league meeting.
Just three years ago, Weymouth were competing in the Southern Premier South League, their remarkable rise saw them enjoy consecutive promotions from the seventh tier to the fifth, led by former Blues boss Mark Molesley.
But, as the Terras readied for their first campaign in the National League, current manager Brian Stock took to the dugout as Molesley was appointed at Roots Hall.
Despite there being no relegation from the league last season, Weymouth finished in a comfortable 18th place.
And survival will be the aim for Stock and his team this campaign, as this time around there are relegation repercussions and they’ll be keen to extend their stay in the division.
Blues could see some familiar faces line-up against them on Saturday, Tyler Cordner and Brandon Goodship both in the Terras’ ranks, the latter scoring in their last outing.
Maher’s side have enjoyed their best run of the season so far in recent weeks.
Blues have been beaten just once in their last five outings in all competitions, earning two wins and two draws in that period.
Last time out, Southend displayed a fantastic performance against high-flyers Bromley and were unfortunate to come away with just a point; they’ll be looking to build upon their strong showing.
In opposition, the past couple of months has not been kind to Weymouth.
Stock’s side did manage to edge past Hungerford Town in the FA Trophy with a 1-0 victory, but they haven’t accumulated a single league point since October.
The Terras have conceded 17 goals in their last six National League outings.
From The Boss:
"It’s been frustrating we haven’t been able to play,” said Maher.
"We’re looking forward to the next game now and we want to build on the Bromley performance.
"It’s another away game and we’re looking for a similar performance to Bromley if we can.
"It’s been two weeks and we’ve had players in and out because of Covid.
"We managed to have a practise match here on Tuesday so those who needed minutes got them which was important.
"It’s a big month for us with a lot of games coming up, Weymouth have some very good players.
"I know their manager and the way he likes to play, they’re a good footballing side so it’s going to be a tough game for us but it’s one ready for.
"We’re looking forward to it."
Blues’ Team News:
New signings Ollie Kensdale and Harrison Neal could make debuts at the Bob Lucas Stadium.
A late call will be made on the fitness of Kacper Łopata, the defender’s loan deal was extended in the week, and he has trained following a knee problem.
Nathan Ferguson may feature after completing his isolation period which kept him out the squad on Boxing Day.
Jack Bridge and Simeon Akinola will still be missing for Blues.
Lee Collins will be the man calling the shots for Blues’ important clash against Weymouth.
He has yet to referee a Southend game, and has only officiated twice so far in the National League this season.
In that time, Collins has shown seven yellow cards and has yet to brandish a red.
He will be assisted by Sean Rothwell and Russell Jones, with Lewis Sandoe as fourth official.
Elsewhere in the National League:
Aldershot Town v Maidenhead United
Barnet v Altrincham
Bromley v Solihull Moors
Dover Athletic v Notts County
FC Halifax v Eastleigh
King’s Lynn Town v Woking
Torquay United v Dagenham and Redbridge
How to Follow:
Blues fans unable to attend the Bob Lucas Stadium 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.