Southend United v Grimsby Town…
Southend United and Grimsby Town face off under the lights at Roots Hall this evening, both sides flying high in the National League form guide and bidding to extend their respective unbeaten runs.
After the Blues’ and the Mariners’ initial meeting fell foul to adverse weather conditions last month, both teams have continued their impressive runs of results up until the rearranged fixture.
Both outfits have found their feet in the National League after each suffering relegation from League Two last season, 11 points and four places separate the two sides with the Mariners eyeing up a spot in the top seven which they could achieve, dependant on other results, if they pick up victory at Roots Hall.
And Blues will be a much more threatening proposition than when the two sides last met, as a Southend side still adapting to Maher’s new regime fought valiantly but ultimately lost out at Blundell Park in November; the 1-0 defeat was the last league outing in which Blues haven’t found the back of the net.
Paul Hurst’s side enjoyed an explosive start to the 21/22 campaign, initially rubbishing any concerns of a relegation hangover as they earned nine wins in their opening 12 matches in all competitions.
But, after their single goal triumph over Maher’s side four months ago, the Mariners hit a mid-season stumble with poor form seeing them tumble from the division’s summit, eventually falling to the brink of the play-offs.
But with shrewd acquisitions in important areas, including the signings of Jordan Maguire-Drew and Arjan Raikhy, Hurst’s side’s form has begun to see an upturn, with the top seven in their sights and 42 points to play for.
With ambitions of a return to the Football League, Grimsby are in capable hands with Hurst in charge, the 47-year-old achieved promotion from the National League with the Mariners as recently as 2016.
And the side from Cleethorpes are certainly on an upward trajectory under his guidance, with a high-tempo, quick-pressing style a key characteristic of his promotion-chasing outfit.
Maher’s men are offered the chance to extend their unbeaten run to 13 matches in the league, they achieved a dozen without defeat after their impressive 2-2 draw away at Chesterfield on Saturday.
But Blues will be keen to return to winning ways after drawing each of their last three matches.
Tonight’s hosts have picked up 22 points from their last 30 on offer.
Meanwhile, the Mariners’ favourable run of recent fixtures has seen them accumulate 16 points from their last possible 18.
Hurst’s side have picked up more points than any other side in the division at home, but concerns remain regarding their away form, having picked up 17 points from 14 games on the road.
Grimsby themselves are undefeated in six matches, and haven’t suffered a loss since January, a 1-0 setback away at Wrexham.
From The Boss:
"They’ve done very well and Paul’s [Hurst] a manager I know well.
"Having him getting the group together earlier than us you can see how he’s organised them and got them going.
"They’re in a good run of form and we know it’s a tough one, but we’ll be ready and we’re on a positive run ourselves.
"The players will be full of confidence."
Blues’ Team News:
Tom Clifford is back in contention for Blues, he was forced to miss Saturday’s trip to Chesterfield but has since taken part in training.
A late call will be made on the fitness of Matt Dennis, Maher confirmed that the forward left the match on crutches as a precaution after rolling his ankle.
Harry Cardwell remains out, as a result of a hamstring issue.
Rhys Murphy, Simeon Akinola and Abu Ogogo are still out with long-term injury lay-offs.
Daniel Lamport will be the man in the middle as the Mariners come to town.
Lamport has yet to officiate a Blues match this season.
He has refereed 14 National League fixtures so far this campaign, issuing 31 yellow cards in that time, alongside one red.
Lamport will have Jack Bloxham and Ayrton Hussey in assistance, with Aaron Farmer 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.
They cost £20 for adults, £15 for concessions and £10 for juniors (9-16) and £5 for a child (8 and under).
Tickets that were bought for the original fixture which was postponed are still valid for tonight's game.
Elsewhere in the National League:
Altrincham v Weymouth
King’s Lynn Town v Woking
Maidenhead United v Wealdstone
Solihull Moors v Notts County
Wrexham v Boreham Wood
Yeovil Town v Dagenham and Redbridge
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.