Southend United head to the Crabble Athletic Ground on Saturday as they face bottom side Dover Athletic.
We’ve taken a look at five talking points ahead of the fixture.
The Armoury Grows
Southend United will be buoyed by another signing when they head to the Crabble Athletic on Saturday after Kevin Maher boosted his team with winger Callum Powell. Powell, 26, joined Blues on Friday from National League North side Kettering Town for an undisclosed fee and is in contention to make his debut. With 14 goals and seven assists this season, Powell looks set to be an exciting signing for Blues.
Saturday will be the first time Blues have travelled to the Crabble since they were humiliatingly knocked out of the Emirates FA Cup in November 2019. Blues, who were in League One at the time, were backed in numbers by their loyal supporters but it wasn’t to be a happy day, as Ruel Sotiriou’s 84th-minute strike condemned Blues to defeat. Now though, Maher's men head into the game in good form and a chance to go 15th in the league whilst their counterparts find themselves rock-bottom, on -5 points. Dover will provide stern opposition though, having picked up their first win of the season on Tuesday against Eastleigh.
50 not out!
Nathan Ralph looks set to make his 50th appearance for Southend on Saturday since joining from Dundee in 2019. Ralph has experienced a mixed spell at Blues after suffering long-term injuries which has previously kept him out for the majority of last season and before. However, after captaining Blues in their last two outings, Ralph insisted this is the most positive it’s been at the club since he joined. Could we see Ralph celebrate this achievement with a goal? The defender last scored for Blues at home to Chertsey Town in the Emirates FA Cup Fourth Qualifying round earlier in the season.
“Never say Never”
Harry Cardwell’s 87th-minute equaliser on Tuesday evening against Aldershot was the fifth point Blues have picked up from a losing position since Boxing Day, which is more than the entirety of last season where Blues only managed to pick up four points from a losing position. This change in mentality will be a welcome alteration for head coach Kevin Maher as Blues look to try and climb the National League table.
Should Blues avoid defeat to Dover on Saturday, they will see themselves unbeaten in the league throughout January. After wins against Weymouth, Yeovil Town and King’s Lynn Town, and the draw against Aldershot, Blues have picked up 10 points from a possible 12, as they now sit 10 points above the relegation zone, and five points off the top half of the table. The last time Blues went an entire month unbeaten was February 2018! (excluding May 2021, when Blues played just twice!)