Next Up: Southend United v Exeter City

Just when you think City have turned a corner, along comes the bottom club in the division to stuff things up. Given City’s injury problems and Hartlepool having dispensed with their manager, last Saturday’s match always had great banana skin potential, and so it proved as City fell to a 2-1 defeat. Oneroots_hall2 bright side to the defeat was the return to action of several of the walking wounded, albeit perhaps earlier than Paul Tisdale would have liked, and the likes of Noble and Wheeler will be aiming to start at Southend. Liam Sercombe is still probably a week or two away from a return.

Southend, installed as an outside bet for promotion at the start of the season, have until the last couple of matches justified that tag as they currently sit fifth in the League Two table under the auspices of the colourful Phil Brown. The perma-tanned ex-Hull boss has seen his Shrimpers side endure highs and lows so far, four games without a win then four straight victories and now consecutive defeats, against paul_tisdale_phil_brown_featMorecambe and newly promoted Luton, both without scoring. Barry Corr, who displayed plenty of fight (literally) in City’s colours in 09/10, made a welcome return to the side at Luton after a couple of weeks out injured, and he’ll be pressing for a start, while Tottenham loanee Shaquille Coulthirst, who spent the end of last season at Torquay, will also be keen to make an impression. Goals have been shared around with Jack Payne, courtesy of two JPT goals, heading the charts with four goals ahead of a group of players on two. Conor Clifford is another player City will know well, the tigerish midfielder having spent some time at that mob down the A38.

As befits City’s fortunes since returning to League Two it was away sides all the way last season. The corresponding fixture saw a spate of early goals – Keohane put City ahead only for CMark Phillips to score a quickfire double, and with ten minutes to go it was still 2-1 to the hosts only for Liam Sercombe and Elliot Richards with a fine solo effort to snatch the points at the death. This was revenge for a routine 2-0 defeat in November, Woodrow and Hurst with the goals in the first half against a toothless City. Southend are the side City have faced most often in league encounters, and of the 116 matches played to date it’s Southend with the slight head-to-head advantage, with 42 wins to City’s 40 (34 draws).

Match officials –

Ground Guide to Roots Hall –

Last season’s away game –

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