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Stevenage v Southend United – Sky Bet League Two – Lamex Stadium – Saturday 3pm – Preview
It’s difficult to know where to start from when previewing a Sky Bet League Two encounter for Southend United these days.
Manager, Mark Molesley, has done his utmost to remain upbeat in adversity, but you only need to take a glance through the various social media sites connected to the club to realise that a large percentage of the Southend support have simply lost faith.
“You can see that we’re up for the battle, there’s no questioning the boy’s work-rate and endeavour, but our execution has been sadly missing,” Molelsley explained after their most recent setback, a 3-0 reverse at Bolton Wanderers.
Nevertheless, with the squad alarmingly lacking quality, Southend remains bottom of the Football League and show little sign of bucking that trend any time soon.
Blues are likely to require around 45 points to avoid relinquishing their 100-year league status. But with just five gleaned from the first 42 on offer that particular target already appears way out of reach for a squad that simply isn’t good enough to compete at this level.
Molesley takes his side to fellow strugglers Stevenage on Saturday – a team seven points and one place better off the Seasiders and containing several former Blues payers, no doubt keen to prove a point.
Recently, injuries and COVID case have hampered availability, while both Simeon Akinola and Sam Hart remain sidelined due to the transfer embargo hanging over the club. But in truth, the vast majority of Southend fans simply do not believe that their side – even at full-strength – are capable of pulling themselves out of the relegation zone.
Southend’s next four matches could all but seal the clubs’ sorry fate. Following Stevenage, Blues face Scunthorpe, Grimsby and Mansfield – all sides occupying paces towards the bottom of the table. Anything but a healthy haul of points from that particular sequence will be disastrous.
“The next game is always the biggest and every game is crucial,” Molesley added after last weekends defeat – Southend’s eleventh from fourteen outings.
“We know that the pressure might be mounting from the outside when you’re looking at that table, but we’ve got to be clear and clinical with how we execute our game plans, and we can only control what we can control.
“That’s how we train, how we prepare, and we’ve always done that to the best of our ability.”
And it’s that word ‘ability’ which is under the most scrutiny. Issues off the field will always affect what goes on once the team cross the white line. Romantic tales of waltzing with Liverpool in the snow, holding Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and delivering a knockout blow to Manchester United are water under the bridge – history – football, like all sport, is all about now and for Southend, now is looking anything but healthy, whatever way you look at it.
Like I said at the start of this preview, it’s difficult to know where to start from when previewing a Sky Bet League Two encounter for Southend United these days. Unfortunately, more and more of the Roots Hall faithful seem painfully aware of where this is all going to end!
Jeevesie’s prediction: Stevenage 2-1 Southend United