Southend United v Altrincham…
Southend United, who had their 13-match unbeaten run halted on Tuesday, look to get back to winning ways on Saturday as they welcome an in-form Altrincham side to Roots Hall.
Blues suffered their first defeat of 2022 against Dagenham and Redbridge in the week, a 3-0 setback in which Kevin Maher’s side’s performance didn’t match the standards set in the recent upturn in form.
Now they must combat Phil Parkinson’s Robins, the side just one place below Southend in the National League table, and currently one of the division’s form teams.
The two sides met for the first time in their history back in November, as Blues boss Maher picked up his first away victory after his appointment.
First half goals from Rhys Murphy and Sam Dalby helped Blues to a 2-1 triumph, Steve Arnold heroically saved a second half penalty making Daniel Mooney’s 68th minute strike just a consolation.
The Robins have drifted between extremes this season, at times, enduring lengthy winless runs but when they do win, they do it in impressive fashion.
Their November defeat to Blues was just the second game of a 13-match losing run that ensued for Alty.
But such a poor run was followed by the impressive sequence of results Parkinson’s side now find themselves enjoying, their National League status looks secure as they continue to build upon the positive trajectory under their commendable manager.
Parkinson, now in his fifth year in the Altrincham dugout, has celebrated two promotions in his time at the club and propelled the Robins to the National League for the first time in their history.
Blues have often been topped their opponents in the form guide in recent weeks, but such is not the case going into the weekend’s clash.
The visitors have picked up 10 points from their last 15 on offer, while scoring 12 goals in their last four outings, conceding none.
But the three victories in that period have come when playing on home soil; Parkinson’s side have won just one match away from home since November.
Before Tuesday, Blues were unbeaten in the league in 2022, it was Maher’s side’s first defeat at Roots Hall since mid-November.
Saturday’s hosts have picked up six points from their last 15 on offer, and have won just one of their last five matches.
Head Coach Maher will be keen to see his side back to winning ways and back on the scoresheet, Tuesday’s 3-0 defeat was the first time Blues haven’t found the back of the net since their trip to Grimsby Town four months ago.
From The Boss:
"Everyone was disappointed that the unbeaten run came to an end and in the manner it did as well,” said Maher.
"We’ve put it to bed now and look forward to Saturday against another team in good form.
"I’m sure they will respond and they’re desperate to get winning again so they’re looking forward to Saturday as well.
"They’re [Altrincham] scoring goals for fun so they’re in good form.
"It’s one we’ve got to be ready for."
Blues’ Team News:
Maher admitted that this Saturday ‘will probably come too early’ for Harry Cardwell, who has been forced to sit out of Blues’ last four outings with a hamstring issue.
Matt Dennis is back available for selection after making a cameo from the bench on Tuesday evening.
Noor Husin could miss out after receiving his 10th booking of the season against Dagenham and Redbridge on Tuesday, Maher said he was waiting for confirmation ‘from the league’ regarding his availability.
Rhys Murphy, Simeon Akinola and Abu Ogogo remain out.
Aji Ajibola will be the man in the middle when Blues face Altrincham.
Blues’ 1-1 draw with Aldershot Town in January was Ajibola’s first match refereeing in the National League after receiving a promotion mid-way through the season, he brandished four yellow cards on the evening.
Since, he has officiated four further fifth tier ties, showing 20 yellow cards and no reds in that time.
Matthew Morrison and Craig Green will be in assistance, with Marc Meeten as fourth official.
Tickets are on sale for the game from the Blues Box Office online, on the phone (0344 477 0077) or in person.
Tickets cost £20 for adults, £15 for concessions and £10 for juniors (9-16) and £5 for a child (8 and under).
Elsewhere in the National League:
Aldershot Town v King’s Lynn Town
Barnet v Woking
Boreham Wood v Grimsby Town
Bromley v Wrexham
Chesterfield v Maidenhead United
Dagenham and Redbridge v Notts County
Dover Athletic v Yeovil Town
FC Halifax Town v Torquay United
Solihull Moors v Eastleigh
Stockport County v Wealdstone
How to Follow:
Blues fans unable to attend Roots Hall 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.
The matchday programme ‘Roots Review’ will be available to buy from programme sellers outside the stadium at the programme hut and the West Stand entrance.
The programme hut is based at the bottom of the main car park off Victoria Avenue.
A digital matchday programme can be bought via MatchDay Digital.
We are also launching our first Junior Blues insert which has some great content designed for our younger fans.
More about this can be found here!