"Inside the Halle …
catching little nimble shrimps"
Every now and then the fixture list turns up a game where you think "If we can’t win this one we might as well pack up and go home" - and this match fits that bill pretty near perfectly. The Shrimpers are currently bottom of the table, without a win in their 11 games so far, and sporting a goal difference of -20 (scored 5, conceded 25). Hamstrung in League One last season by a signing embargo allied to the ongoing difficulties with HMRC, manager at the time Sol Campbell left in June with the club relegated (4 wins in 35 games). The outstanding tax bill of almost half a million pounds has been settled, but there has been something of a clear-out of senior players under new manager Mark Molesley - their current League Two form looks like this:-
November 3rd Bradford City (A) Lost 3-0
October 31st Port Vale (H) Lost 0-2
October 27th Oldham Athletic (H) Lost 1-2
October 24th Tranmere Rovers (A) Lost 2-0
October 20th Salford City (A) Lost 3-0
You get the idea…
Southend’s current squad includes ex-Saddler Jason Demetriou, who doubles as club captain. In recent seasons Sam Mantom was a regular player with 65 appearances, but he left in the 2020 clear-out, and is currently plying his trade at Rushall Olympic. Previous players to have been on the books of both clubs include Brett Angell and Stan Collymore.
Darrell Clarke has no worries about resting players for future Cup games, as we know there won’t be any. However his selection tactics are always unpredictable, although one or two players may have done their chances no harm in the Oxford United defeat. The unexplained absence of Liam Roberts from that game’s squad may mean that Jack Rose gets his opportunity for an extended run. Jake Scrimshaw’s energetic performance could see him start this game in view of the perceived weakness of the opposition’s defence. But (as always) at the end of the day, who knows?
Prediction? It just HAS to be a convincing home win. Even if we concede a goal in our usual gesture of goodwill, the final result should be something like 4-1 to the Saddlers, with contributions from a rested Adebayo (2), Holden, and a debut screamer from Scrimshaw.