Need I remind you that last time we played Southend it was a bit brutal - a 4-1 win for the Shrimpers with 2 each from Britt Assombalonga and Gavin Tomlin. This mirrored the score at Roots Hall last season, when Kane Ferdinand (x2), Liam Dickinson and Mark Phillips scored during a rough patch for us. The return fixture at Plainmoor just under a year ago was a gritty 0-0, with both sides en route to unsuccessful playoff campaigns
This is another ground where we've struggled in recent years. Our last win there was the 2-1 win that secured us promotion in May 2004. In fact this was our last win over Southend in general, though this isn't as bad as it sounds as this is only the 3rd season we've been in the same division as them since, due to their promotions and our relegations. They do lead in overall wins, though - 37-27 overall (with 27 draws), 33-25 in the league (with 25 draws)
So it's a tough ask, though they were beaten at home by Wimbledon on Tuesday. And after our positive performance in nearby Dagenham, who knows - would be nice to get one over Sturrock for sure
Funny side Southend, win away at Port Vale on Saturday then lose at home to Wimbledon in the week! Saying that, their home form has gone downhill this year with just the one win since Christmas, 1-0 against Oxford in early Feb and their home record exactly matches ours so maybe a bit of home tension we can exploit as they stutter in the play off race. Also, they recently beat Leyton Orient in the Southern Area final so may be a day out at Wembley is providing a bit of a distraction?
Former Gull Tomlin is their top scorer with 15 but didn't make the squad on Tuesaday - anyone know if he is injured? Also, anyone know if Benyon is eligible for this one? I can't see Knill making too many changes but I wonder if he will bring Chapell in for Jarvis on the wing and if Benyon is out, put Jarvis up front? Of course, Downes is suspended but MacDonald will be fine there but what if he or Saah get injured or red carded!!!! Also, should Cruise stay at left back over Nico - sounded like he should and Dave Thomas thought he put in a "classy performance" but will this be enough against the "old guard!"
The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him.
Don't really have a clue how this game will turn out what with our new found enthusiasm, so a draw will be fine.
I'm sure Chapell will play, Knill has stated that he doesn't see the point of getting loanees unless they play...I like this guy! So that will mean that around one fifth of the team is new. With a new striker in next week that will mean the team is.......................well more than one fifth!
I'm not expecting Chapell to be named in the starting line up but we might well see him come on at some stage during the game.
It seems that he's been brought in predominantly to cover for Billy Bodin during BB's International duty absence. Given that Knill has justifiably kicked up a fuss about having to lose Billy for 2 games, it would undermine his argument considerably if he now doesn't play Billy on Saturday when he is available.
I would imagine that the team spirit and confidence that might have been gained from Tuesday nights performance would be kept intact as much as possible. I'd expect much the same starting line up, with the obvious exception of MacDonald taking the place of Downes. As for the Cruise or Nicholson dilemma, that one is harder to call.
I'm sure Chappell will get plenty of game time during his loan spell with us and it won't be anything like the direction the Benyon situation seemed to be heading, with it looking as though the month could be completed while he rarely stepped onto the pitch.
Chappell will hopefully prove to be a good short term acquisition for us and I'm looking forward to seeing him play.
Chapell for Benyon straight swap out with Jarvis more than likely playing the Benyon role supporting Rene in a more central role. Chuck him in there I say not enough games left to be indecisive and find out whether he's good enough and up for it or not and vital he hass pitch time early on. Still cannot see us getting anything from this Southend are usually a big physical side with bags of talent who just sometimes forget to turn up. If we are to get anything we have to play on their "home form insecurities" and try and get at them from the first whistle, get some doubt in there minds that this will be an easy three points. Which on paper it should be of course.
My education started when I left Highweek School for boys..
Well done Pete, at least, unlike me, you're sufficiently awake in the morning to remember that there will be no Benyon tomorrow. I think I was thrown by reading elsewhere that Southend had insisted on a clause that we HAD to play Benyon against them....but it's since been explained to me that was a joke (Not entirely suitable but it's the only smiley I like)
I'd leave Rene up front on his own, stifle the game and come away with a point.Then throw the kitchen sink at Chesterfield on Tuesday and feel well satisfied with 4 points we've gained from a possible 6. Failing that, lose at Southend but still beat Chesterfield while telling ourselves that 3 points out of 6 is a big improvement compared to the last couple of months.
Let's hope that when the female population of Torbay turn up to witness their free match on Tuesday night, that they're treated to an exciting game and a convincing home win.
Cruise played well on Tuesday and should therefore keep his place in my opinion. Also I would put Jarvis up front and start Chappell, see what impact he can have. Overall feeling more hopeful after tuesday's performance!
Maybe Downes getting sent off against Dagenham was a blessing bearing in mind his error prone last 2 games. In fairness to Downes I can't help feeling he was rushed back from injury too soon and so his suspension will give him chance to fully recover. Before his injury he was our most outstanding performer this season in my opinion. MacDonald seems to be doing a decent job in his place.
I hope Cruise plays again instead of Nicholson. With Cruise, MacDonald, the impressive Labadle and maybe our new winger Chapell starting the team will have a fresher look about it. Unfortunately for months the team has looked so stale, short of any fresh ideas and nothing was done about it.
I like the sound of Jon's choice. Throw in a 'pass with purpose' observation and I think we are there. It is something that can work for this set of players, and hopefully more so with the added bite of Labadie and flair of Chapell. Too negative. Only one up top. etc, etc. goes the cry. It ain't if the players are doing their jobs properly. And it plays to the strengths of our best player in Rene Howe. I happen to think that both Morris (and Craig) show the requisite intelligence to play this role and am hopeful we do try it soon, given that Labadie's addition might enable us to do it with better effect.