The Saddlers host the Shrimpers tomorrow...
The Saddlers will be hoping to get back on track after Tuesday’s defeat at Rochdale. Jon Whitney’s men sit five points behind ninth-placed Southend, who are unbeaten in seven. Phil Brown’s Shrimpers have recovered from a slow start, taking 15 points from the last 21 available to move to within two points of the play-offs. We completed the double over the Blues last season – winning 2-0 at Roots Hall and 1-0 here at the Banks’s, when the teams last met in April. It is nine years since Southend’s last win in WS1; the two Clarkes, Peter and Leon, scored the goals that day in a 2-0 victory.
Walsall: 17th – P18 W5 D7 L6 F22 A28 PTS22
Southend: 9th – P19 W7 D6 L6 F26 A27 PTS27
22nd November – Rochdale 4-0 Walsall – League One
Walsall succumbed to their heaviest defeat of the season after being outplayed by Rochdale. First-half strikes from Oliver Rathbone and Reuben Noble-Lazarus put Dale in control, before substitute Steven Davies’ second-half double rounded off a comprehensive win.
22nd November – Southend 1-1 Swindon – League One
Jonathan Obika’s 73rd-minute leveller denied Southend victory over struggling Swindon. Will Atkinson, making his 150th appearance for the club, fired the Shrimpers in front on 12 minutes but Obika equalised 17 minutes from time with a deflected effort.
Walsall wins: 23
Southend wins: 39
16th April 2016 – Walsall 1-0 Southend – League One
Jordy Hiwula scored a controversial 88th-minute winner as Walsall moved to within three points of the automatic promotion places with victory over Southend. The Saddlers dominated throughout but found Shrimpers keeper Dan Bentley in phenomenal form as he saved from Sam Mantom, Hiwula and Kieron Morris. Anthony Forde also struck a post for the dominant hosts, who finally broke the deadlock when Morris’ corner was headed in via the bar by Hiwula. Southend claimed the ball hadn’t crossed the line, but the goal was given.
Southend Manager: Phil Brown
The 57-year-old guided Southend to 15th last season, in what was their first campaign back in League One. The third longest-serving manager in the division, Brown took charge of Southend in March 2013 and guided the Shrimpers to promotion from League Two via the play-offs in 2014/15. He managed Hull from 2006 to 2010, helping them reach the Premier League for the first time in their history in 2007/08. Brown has also managed Preston and Derby.
Southend Star Man: Simon Cox
A summer recruit, the experienced striker finished as League One’s joint 29-goal top scorer in 2008/09 while playing for Swindon. The 30-time former Republic of Ireland international spent three years with West Brom from 2009 to 2012, winning promotion to the Premier League in his debut season. In recent years, the 29-year-old has represented Nottingham Forest and Reading, his hometown team.
Kieron Morris has trained ahead of tomorrow’s match. Maz Kouhyar and Reece Flanagan remain sidelined.
Based in East Yorkshire, Boyeson has taken charge of 15 matches this season, brandishing 53 yellow cards and no red. The last Walsall game he officiated was on 3rd January 2015 – a 2-0 home defeat to Coventry.
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