Southend United manager Kevin Maher is hoping that a return to home comforts can help his side continue a run of form which has seen them beaten just once in their last six matches.
The Shrimpers, who were expected to be among the promotion contenders having dropped out of the League last season, lie four points off the National League relegation zone in 19th place going in to the fixture at Roots Hall.
It is only the third time they have been at home in almost a month-and-a-half and they have only won twice on home soil in the league, losing three.
Maher told the Southend Echo: “It’s been a little while since we’ve been at home after the games were called off over Christmas.
“We’re delighted to get back in front of the fans and I’m sure they will turn out in good numbers because they always do.
“I’m sure they will get behind us as well and that’s what we need at home.”
The match pits former Yeovil top-scorer Rhys Murphy against his old employers for the first time since he left in the summer having failed to show up for the final month of last season’s campaign.
Having joined the club recently relegated from the Football League in June, he posted on his Instagram account that “personal issues” meant he had been unable to turn up for even the final game of the season.
He is Southend’s top-scorer with eight goals in all competitions, but his last goal came in a draw at Maidenhead United at the start of December.
In the 1-0 win at W*ymouth on Saturday, Murphy was part of a three-man frontline alongside 6’2″ Sam Dalby, who has six goals, and Norwich City loanee Matt Dennis, who has scored three in his last three matches.
Having picked up three points at King’s Lynn Town on the opening day of the season, Southend picked up just five points from the next 27 leading to the sacking of manager Phil Brown in October.
He was replaced by club legend Maher, who played nearly 400 times for the club, who is supported by former Barnet manager Darren Currie and another ex-Shrimper Mark Bentley.
But, in a not unfamiliar situation to Yeovil, there has been a lot of attention on off-the-field events in Essex with chairman Ron Martin the target of angry campaign from the club’s supporters.
His latest finest hour came in November when he was taken to court by HM Revenue & Customs for failure to pay nearly £5m in VAT for the sale of land in Cheltenham.
FROM THE MANAGER
Southend United manager Kevin Maher believes his side are moving in the right direction after just one defeat in their last six matches in all competitions.
The Shrimpers boss described the 1-0 win at W*ymouth last weekend as “important”, which suggests he is not setting his bar too high.
Speaking to the Southend Echo ahead of the visit of Yeovil, he said: “Overall W*ymouth was a good performance too which I think shows we’re moving in the right direction.
“Getting an important win like we did at the weekend always builds confidence. We’ve lost once in six so that should build confidence too and we want to take that into this game.
“It’s one we’re looking forward to as well. We’ve done it away from home now we need to transfer it to Roots Hall under the lights on Tuesday.”
He added that he had been in attendance when stunning strikes from Tom Knowles and Charlie Wakefield earned the Glovers a 2-1 win Bromley at the end of November.
Maher said: “I know Darren (Sarll), their manager, well and his team will definitely be organised.
“He will have them well up for the game so it’s going to be tough. We watched them at Bromley where they won but we will be ready.”
Southend winger Jack Bridge will miss the visit from Yeovil having been ruled out with COVID-19.
The product of The Shrimpers’ academy, who has played for Northampton Town and Carlisle United, has not played since November with a knee injur.
Midfielder Abu Ogogo will also miss out having been diagnosed with an issue affecting a muscle around his heart last month, whilst former Exeter City midfielder James Dunne (ankle) and ex-Barnet striker Simeon Akinola (knee) are also missing through injury.
FOOT IN BOTH CAMPS
The obvious link between these two sides is Rhys Murphy, who topped the scoring charts in the green-and-white of Yeovil Town for the past two seasons and is doing the same at Southend United.
The 31-year-old, who did not play in the final month of his contract at Huish Park last season, has got eight goals in all competitions for The Shrimpers this campaign.
Full-back Nathan Ralph, who was part of the Yeovil side which was promoted to the Championship in 2013, is likely to be the other familiar face in the hosts’ line-up having been a regular starter since the middle of November.
Other players with a foot in both camps include:
- Jordan Green – Yeovil Town (2017-19), Southend United (2020 – loan)
- Brandon Goodship – Yeovil Town (2016 – loan, 2016), Southend United (2019-21)
- Jakub Sokolik – Southend United (2014 – loan, 2016), Yeovil Town (2014-16)
- Craig Calver – Southend United (2009-10), Yeovil Town (2010-11)
- Scott Spencer – Yeovil Town (2008 – loan), Southend United (2010-11)
- Wayne Gray – Southend United (2004-06), Yeovil Town (2006-07)
- Barrington Belgrave – Yeovil Town (2000-01), Southend United (2001-2003)
- Gareth Risbridger – Yeovil Town (1998-2001), Southend United (2001-02)
- Ben Smith – Yeovil Town (1998-2001), Southend United (2001-02)
- David Webb – Southend United – manager (1986-87, 1988-82, 2000-01, 2010), Yeovil Town (2000)
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