Southend United take a break from league action on Saturday as they head to Dagenham & Redbridge looking to progress to the fifth round of the Buildbase FA Trophy.
We’ve picked out some storylines ahead of the game…
High On Confidence
Kevin Maher’s side have now tasted defeat once in the last seven games. Tuesday night’s win at home to Yeovil was the first time Southend have claimed back-to-back victories this season. The last time Blues won three on the bounce came all the way back in October 2018 under Chris Powell, when in League One. Buoyed by new signings and an upturn in form, Southend fans will be hoping that their team can get the win on Saturday and progress further in the Trophy to continue their good run.
Cast your mind back to October 23rd last year when Kevin Maher took charge of his first Southend United game as Head Coach. Daggers ran out 3-0 winners, scoring all of their goals within six minutes of each other. The defeat left Blues 22nd, four points from safety. Now though, Blues will be heading to Dagenham confident of avenging their result from three months ago. The Blues find themselves seven points clear of the relegation zone, and whilst not a league match, this form will give Kevin Maher’s side confidence of matching their opponent on Saturday.
Maher has opted to remain unchanged in the last two games, but he will be forced into a minimum of one change with Harrison Neal cup tied, having previously featured in the competition for Kettering Town last month. Not only this but Blues’ new boy Leon Davies is also cup-tied after featuring in Weymouth’s 1-0 win at Hungerford Town. There are question marks over the fitness of Will Atkinson and Rhys Murphy after the pair limped off on Tuesday night. One guarantee tomorrow will be at least one change from Tuesday night’s team.
Between the Sticks
Another position Kevin Maher may look at changing is the goalkeeper. Blues’ number one Steve Arnold has been in fine form in recent weeks after returning from a concussion sustained at Notts County in December, including on Tuesday night where he made a number of crucial saves. It would therefore be the obvious choice to keep Arnie in goal. However, Collin Andeng Ndi impressed when given a chance in Round Three of the Trophy, saving a penalty as well as a few decent saves to help Blues overcome Dorking 2-1 at Roots Hall. Having only recently recovered from Covid-19, Andeng Ndi might not be quite ready.
The Road To Wembley Continues
Saturday will come as a chance of taking another step closer to a Wembley final. Should Blues beat Dagenham on Saturday, they will progress to Round Five of the competition, where they will only have to win three more games to reach the Wembley Arch. They would be joined in the Round of Sixteen by a maximum of seven other National League sides- so Kevin Maher must be fancying his chances of gaining his first piece of silverware as a Head Coach.