Southend United v Fleetwood Town – Sky Bet League One – Roots Hall Stadium – Saturday (3pm)
Southend United v Fleetwood Town – Preview:
STRUGGLING SOUTHEND UNITED begin life without manager Kevin Bond, keen to end a wretched run which has seen them lose all six of their Sky Bet League One matches to date.
These are dismal times for Southend, who sit one place off the bottom and already look likely candidates for the drop come to the end of the campaign.
And with little sign of a new appointment in the hot seat, Gary Waddock – who had served as Bond’s assistant – has been handed the task of team selection ahead of this weekend’s vital clash with Fleetwood Town at Roots Hall Stadium.
Blues supporters each have their ideas and preferences to take over what has almost become a ‘poisoned chalice’ – But whoever is eventually handed the reigns, they face the massive task of lifting a squad containing limited quality as well as lacking confidence and leadership.
Waddock has injury issues to contend with. Skipper, Mark Milligan, returned early from international duty with a hamstring concern – the midfielder rated touch and go for the match.
“We’re monitoring him, he’s back in, he was with Ben (Clarkson) this morning out on the training ground so we will see tomorrow going into the weekend whether he’s available or not, but he’s been out on the grass today,” the former Queen’s Park Rangers man explained to www.southendunited.co.uk.
“He had a slight hamstring after being away in the camp with Australia so we will monitor him over the next 24 hours or so.”
Liam Ridgewell remains sidelined, while John White, Timothee Dieng, Stephen McLaughlin and Nathan Ralph will be assessed but remain a doubt.
In stark contrast, Fleetwood – under the guidance of former Manchester City midfielder, Joey Barton – have started the season brightly. Their most recent success, by the odd goal in three over Oxford United, moved them into fourth place, two points behind early-season pacesetters, Wycombe Wanderers.
Barton spoke cautiously ahead of the trip south, telling www.fleetwoodtownfc.com: “I am not someone to dwell on the past with what has gone on before, however, there has been a change at Southend with the manager and are in a slightly different place.
“We have to be mindful of the situation as it is not an easy place to go, but we will go there on our mantle and be prepared as don’t know who will choose the team or who is going to selected etc., but the focus for us is to be fully at it.”
Southend United v Fleetwood Town – Head to head:
Southend United won: 3
Fleetwood Town won: 2
Southend United v Fleetwood Town – Last five meetings (all competitions):
January 28, 2017 – Sky Bet League One
Fleetwood Town 1-1 Southend United
September 23, 2017 – Sky Bet League One
Fleetwood Town 2-4 Southend United
January 13, 2018 – Sky Bet League One
Southend United 1-2 Fleetwood Town
September 22, 2018 – Sky Bet League One
Southend United 1-0 Fleetwood Town
April 6, 2019 – Sky Bet League One
Fleetwood Town 2-2 Southend United
Jeevesie’s prediction: Southend United 1-2 Fleetwood Town