Southend United v Wealdstone – Vanarama National League – Roots Hall Stadium – Tuesday (7:45pm) – Preview
New signings – A full complement of substitutes – Three points on the road – Nine points shy of the play-off places – These are halogen times at Southend United!
Okay, perhaps a little over the top. But before you ask me for a little less sarcasm, I think it is important to take in events at Reading over the weekend. Royals fans remain in a desperate fight to salvage their football club. A position we were in just a few short weeks ago and something we should never forget.
While something positive appears to be stirring at Roots Hall, we need to recognise and support those still fighting for their football clubs’ very existence by calling and driving out substandard ownership. While from a Southend United perspective, we appear to have won the battle, the bigger picture confirms that the war rages on. Good luck to the Reading fans. You’ve got my support.
As for the Blues. Striker, Marcus Dackers returned to Roots Hall on loan from Salford City for the remainder of the season. The twenty-year-old enjoyed a successful spell with the club last season, scoring three times during his six-game stay. Kevin Maher was keen on him, and for that matter, Dackers was keen to return. An encouraging sign that players and agents’ trust in the club is being restored. He linked up with recent recruits, James Morton, Adam Crowther and another returning starlet, Henry Sandat. Again, I wouldn’t be surprised if another new face came through the door this week, although ahead of Tuesday’s clash with Wealdstone might be too soon.
Dackers made his second Blues debut in a hard-fought, but ultimately deserved, 1-0 victory at Eastleigh. Jack Bridge came up with the all-important strike from the penalty spot. The victory was Maher’s fiftieth in the Roots Hall hot seat: “The performance was very, very good,” he enthused.
“We want to take more chances, but it’s good that we’re getting them. It’s just a bit of composure in and around the box but thankfully we kept going in the second half.
“To come away from home and win the game is the most important thing, and the clean sheet is brilliant as well because it didn’t feel like they opened us up or we were under pressure for any long periods of time. I’m delighted with the win.”
As I mentioned earlier in this article, we are now Nine points from the play-off places, but still only five above the dropzone. I know it is easy to get carried away, and Maher will undoubtedly target the former. But I think it is important to remain cautiously optimistic. There’s still a lot to do simply to make the top seven. Southend United are heading in the right direction. I think, for now, that in itself is a success what with everything we’ve had to contend with.
Wealdstone heads to Roots Hall on Tuesday evening for a rearranged fixture. Always tough opposition. The Stones are currently a point and a place above Southend in the Vanarama National League table, and have their ambitions, recently announcing plans for a new stadium which
they hope to boost their EFL ambitions, having been allocated an eighteen-acre site in west London by Hillingdon Borough Council.
Of course, everyone connected with Southend United longs for a return to the Football League. But with a proverbial ‘bottleneck’ due to the lack of promotion places in the National League, coupled with similarly ambitious clubs throughout the league, the task in hand for the new custodians is perhaps much greater than we, and they might think.
Jeevesie’s prediction: Southend United 2-0 Wealdstone