"Inside the Halle
. . . catching little nimble shrimps"
Now that the pressure to maintain an unbeaten away run is off, Dean Keates and his men look to get back to winning ways at Roots Hall. Southend had a bit of a shaky start to this season, hovering around the bottom 4 in mid-September, but a run of good form has seen them climb to be only 2 points behind ourselves. They have recent Walsall connections, of course, in the shape of ex-Saddlers Jason Demetriou and Sam Mantom. Unusually perhaps, the Southend United captain is their goalkeeper Mark Oxley - I wondered whether we ever had a goalkeeper who was also captain … possibly Mick Kearns? Southend may line up on Tuesday without Irish international Simon Cox, who was red-carded in their most recent match against Coventry City. The Shrimpers’ current league One form:-
Sep 22 Fleetwood Town (H) Won 1-0
Sep 29 Wycombe Wanderers (A) Won 2-3
Oct 2 Burton Albion (A) Won 1-2
Oct 6 Oxford United (H) Drew 0-0
Oct 13 Gillingham (A) Won 0-2
Oct 20 Coventry City (H) Lost 1-2
Our most recent away fixture against Southend United was in March this year, when we came away with 3 points courtesy of a 0-3 win. A repeat of that result would be very welcome, but we will have to find a different scorer as that result was down to a hat-trick from Erhun Oztumer.
After what appeared to be a no-show against Luton Town, positive motivation will no doubt be high on Dean Keates’ agenda. He will also have the option of selecting newly-signed defender/coach Russell Martin, assuming he is match fit. If Martin was watching from the dugout on Saturday he will be aware of some defensive lapses, notably the total lack of marking that led to their second goal. Kieron Morris will probably feel that he deserves 90 minutes on the pitch rather than sitting helplessly on the sidelines.
Prediction? If the team can find that little bit of “mojo” that they showed early in the season, there is no reason why a 0-2 win shouldn’t be on the cards. However, any signs of a “bad day at the office” can only lead to a 1-1 draw at best…