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7 March 2022

Southend United face yet another tough test on Tuesday night as they welcome Paul Hurst’s Grimsby Town to Roots Hall.

Both sides go into the clash on strong runs of form, and Blues boss Kevin Maher is under no illusions regarding the threat that his side’s opposition will pose.

"They’ve done very well and Paul’s [Hurst] a manager I know well," said Maher.

"Having him getting the group together earlier than us you can see how he’s organised them and got them going.

"We know it’s a tough one, but we’ll be ready and we’re on a positive run ourselves.”

Blues valiantly battled to a 2-2 draw away against the National League’s second-placed side Chesterfield on Saturday.

And Maher is keen to maintain the impressive levels of performance and character.

"They’re showing good character, coming from behind at places like Chesterfield but it will be nice to be back at home,” said the Blues boss. 

"We want to keep the level of performance and I’m sure there will be another good crowd.

"I think it will be a good game because we’re both in good form.

"The players must take a lot of the credit because they are games we’ve been behind in and we’ve come back.

"We’ve had to dig in away from home, so they have to take credit, to be competitive in every game even when you’re not at your best is good.”

Southend’s unbeaten run was extended to 12 matches on Saturday, enjoying a run of form in stark contrast to what was endured in the early stages of the campaign.

Maintaining the necessity to take one game at a time, Maher revealed that his squad aren’t getting ahead of themselves.

"We’ve had small targets we try to hit and little objectives," said the Head Coach.

"We don’t look too far ahead.

"We put everything into the next game and see where that takes us.

"If you get too far ahead of yourself you can come unstuck quite quickly, we’re staying positive and want to attack the next game.”

Tom Clifford and Harry Cardwell missed out on Saturday’s 2-2 draw as they continue to recover from their injury lay-offs, while Matt Dennis was removed from the pitch 14 minutes from time with an ankle problem.

Maher gave an update on the trio’s fitness.

"Tom [Clifford] managed to get out there [to train],” said Maher.

"Harry hasn’t been out on the grass yet, so he probably won’t make tomorrow night but he’s getting better.

"Fingers crossed he won’t be too much longer.

"He [Dennis] slightly rolled his ankle so it was a precaution him having the crutches after the game.

"We will see how he is and will probably make a late call on him."

The injury issues gave a chance for Jack Bridge to make an appearance off the bench, the winger recently recovered from a long-term knee injury alongside Covid-19.

And he made an instant impact, setting up Blues’ 88th minute equaliser, and Maher was pleased with his contribution.

"He affected the game when he came on and I’m really pleased for him," said the 45-year-old.

"He had a period out but he’s a good footballer who affects the game in the final third.

"He can go past people but it’s important when players come into the team they’re fully up to speed.

"I don’t want people coming in and getting their fitness within games.

"They’ve got to be ready to go full tilt at it because we want to play at a high tempo with an intensity we demand."

Tickets that were bought for the original fixture are still valid for tomorrow's rearranged game. If you haven't purchased and want to, click here.

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