Notts County face the difficult, long journey to clash with Southend United this weekend in the Vanarama National League, as they Magpies continue to push higher up in the Play-Off places.
Ian Burchnall’s side were last in action this past weekend, where they were held to just a point by local rivals Chesterfield at Meadow Lane in front of a crowd of over ten thousand people. Kyle Wootton’s late first half penalty cancelled out Alex Whittle’s opener. Yet, despite a hugely dominant second half from the hosts, the game resulted level. Both Kyle Cameron and Richard Brindley were absentees in the local derby and the pair will also be left with no choice but to sit out this weekend too. Cameron received bad news this week during his rehabilitation process, news that confirmed that the centre-half is doubtful to return at any stage between now and the end of the season, play-offs included. As for Brindley, the full-back turned centre-half suffered a broken arm following a heavy collision during the away victory over Dagenham and Redbridge. The 28-year-old personally confirmed on Thursday evening that he will not play any part in any fixtures during April, but will return in May to conclude the season and compete for his side in the Play-Offs if achieved. Another player that could be missing from the squad this weekend is Cal Roberts. The winger surprisingly missed all three fixtures leading up to his England C cap in the week, where he played the full ninety minutes. Speculation across social media prior to the international feature was that there had been a falling out between head coach and player, now that looks even more likely due to Roberts playing illness/injury free in the week. It is very fair to say more eyebrows will be raised if Notts’ wide man does not feature in the matchday squad this weekend. In lighter news, a player that may well feature for the Magpies this weekend is Zak Brunt. The Sheffield United loanee spent the first half of the current season on loan at Southend United, before cutting his time short there due to Notts County being his preferred destination. The 20-year-old midfielder has failed to feature much since arriving on loan but will undoubtedly be hoping to be given the opportunity to upset familiar faces this weekend. Finally, on Notts County, the club is currently unbeaten in their previous three league outings, looking to make it four whilst closing in on the top three in the process.
As for this weekend’s hosts, they come into the game off the back of a 2-0 away defeat to Yeovil Town. Goals in the opening ten minutes of play from the experienced Reuben Reid and Tom Knowles ensured Kevin Maher’s side returned to Essex empty handed. It would be wrong to speak about the Shrimpers without mentioning their impressive turnaround from where they were at the beginning of the season to where they currently find themselves. At the point in which these two sides previously met this season, a struggling Southend United outfit was torn apart comfortably at Meadow Lane, seeing the Magpies result as 4-1 winners. At this moment of time, Maher’s side have just lost their impressive run of home victories to the hands of Dagenham and Redbridge, a run that began in December beyond a draw with Maidenhead United. The club have risen from twentieth place to thirteenth and it would be ridiculous for anyone associated with Notts County to believe their side will go and walk all over this weekend’s hosts after last time, considering times have changed drastically since then. Sam Dalby is tipped to be the player to watch for Southend United this weekend. The forward has netted nine times this season, including his side’s goal at Meadow Lane and has contributed in many important previous fixtures against the likes of Grimsby Town and Chesterfield. The 22-year-old will enter double digits for the season if he nets this weekend and he will be backed to do so by a crowd made up of at least 6,000 home supporters. Finally, on the hosts, they have three wins in their last five outings yet are winless in their previous two. They will be looking to right their wrongs under the forecasted sun this weekend and hope to return to winning ways.
So, what can you expect from this fixture?
I expect Southend United to make life very difficult for Notts County this Saturday, yet ultimately see the Magpies coming out on top. This game kicks off a favourable run-in for Ian Burchnall’s side, as they continue to pressure the top three and he will undoubtedly be expressing the importance of victory to his players this weekend. When pressure has been on this season, the Magpies have picked up the positive results more often than not and I believe they will do the same again this weekend.
My prediction: Southend United 1-2 Notts County.
- Southend United: WLWLL
- Notts County: LLWWD
- Southend United: Arnold, Dennis, Kensdale, Hobson, Clifford, Neal, Bridge, Clark, Davies, Atkinson, Dalby.
- Notts County: Slocombe, Kelly-Evans, Rawlinson, Lacey, Chicksen, Richardson, Vincent, Palmer, Arter, Rodrigues, Wootton.
Venue & time:
- Roots Hall 3pm Saturday 2nd April 2022
*Article provided by K-Ci Rennicks (Notts County Correspondent).
*Main image @SUFCRootsHall the newly crowned city of Southend set to host Notts County this weekend.