Down to Sarfend tomorrow. Sarfend, the playground of the Cockneys. What a depressing thought that is â€“ thousands of people trying desperately not to sound like Dick Van Dyke on crack â€“ or should that be trying to sound like him?
Not that Iâ€™ve ever been there for a holiday, of course, but the thought of spending any length of time with anybody even remotely resembling a character from Eastenders or Birds of a Feather is somewhat less than appealing. Even worse, judging by the wifeâ€™s TV viewing, it seems that Jamie Oliver has the habit of visiting with his nephews and nieces. Worst of all, itâ€™s even in Essex!
If the Saddlers are to make a final challenge for that play off slot, then the mini slump has to end now. Ian Roperâ€™s 94th minute equaliser on Monday just about kept us in the running, but it seems that he might well be the scapegoat for the sudden loss of form, with the arrival of loanee Aaron Brown from Reading. If Brown is match fit, then he is likely to start in the long serving Roperâ€™s place, something which is likely to mark the beginning of the end for one of the clubâ€™s truly loyal servants. Letâ€™s hope he can get his best form back, but time is getting on for the thirty year old.
Midfielders Michael Dobson, Edrissa Sonko and Darren Wrack are all rated as doubtful, due to a flu bug at the club, which could mean starts for Mark Bradley, Richard Taundry and Alassane Nâ€™Dour. Michael Dobson was easily the pick of a poor midfield on Monday, so that could be a blow, but Wracky’s place was probably under threat with the return of Bradley from international duty and Taundry from suspension. Nâ€™Dour showed some nice touches when he came on which may well influence whether he starts.
Ishmel Demontagnac is also doubtful with a knee injury. Heâ€™d be only likely to be on the bench anyway, with Lee Holmes being the better option out wide.
Up front, it will be interesting to see if Money goes for two or one, and what part Stefan Moore might play, given his goals for the reserves in the week.
Southend Manager Steve Tilson also has no new injury worries, with only newly acquired (in January) striker Alex Revell missing. He returned for the reserves after recovering from a hernia injury but is not expected to be fit enough to resume first-team duties yet
Southend have beaten us once already this season, of course, in our early season bad run. At that time, they looked odds on promotion candidates, but they have had their ups and downs, which means they are really competing for a play off berth. They are unbeaten in their last eight games, which doesnâ€™t bode well, but there may be a chink in their armour, in that nerves may be setting in for them too, as they have only managed draws in their last two home games. Still, thatâ€™s better than 1 draw and 2 defeats in the last three!
There may be a weakness there, but the question for the Saddlers will be how well the midfield can do in both keeping the pressure off the defence and in supplying the wings with enough decent possession to create chances. We know we are capable of it, so itâ€™s time for the players to stand up and be counted.