Southend v Derby Preview
After the euphoria of the injury time winner from David Jones against Sheffield Wednesday, the Rams will have to be at their best for the visit to bottom of the table Southend this weekend. The Shrimpers, although propping up the table, produced their best performance for a while last week when Lee Bradbury`s strike earned them a valuable three points at Cardiff. It was their first away victory of the season and confidence will be high for the visit of the Rams, as they are now six games unbeaten in league and cup competitions. Derby will be fresh for the game but Southend travelled to Barnsley for a third round FA Cup replay on Tuesday, and came away with a 2-0 victory. Southend have 24 points and are level with Leeds United, but they have a better goal difference. They are six points adrift of safety, and will hope to continue their good form against Derby. The Rams sit joint-top of the Championship level with Birmingham City on 53 points, but behind on goal difference and the Blues have a game in hand. City visit Leicester City on Saturday looking at keeping the Rams behind them, and a slip up by the Rams will let in Preston north End, who entertain Stoke City.
The Rams will have another strong following, with only around 400 tickets remaining for the trip to Roots Hall. The Rams good form has made the tickets sales brisk this week, that has seen themselves win 11 of their last 15 games to sit joint top of the Coca-Cola Championship.
It promises to be a tough encounter with both sides needing the points for different reasons. Derby fans have snapped up 1,600 of their allocation, with the remaining tickets on sale until 6pm on Friday.
They are priced at £20 for adults, £12 for fans over 60 and students, and £10 for fans 15 and under.
The Road Rider is also available at £17, with a 9am departure from Pride Park.
Tickets can be purchased by calling 0870 444 1884 or in person at the Pride Park Stadium ticket off
Southend United Team News:
Southend – Former Rams defender Spencer Prior is still struggling with a groin injury and he wasn’t risked for the Shrimpers’ FA Cup win at Barnsley on Tuesday night, Coach Steve Tilson hopes the big centre-back should be back for the visit of the Rams
Former Grays Athletic winger Mitchell Cole also missed the clash at Oakwell with a hamstring problem and he is doubtful.
Player to watch: Freddy Eastwood
The Shrimpers top goal scorer will be a handful on Saturday. The one time Rams target, Eastwood has scored 7 league goals this season, and also a spectacular free kick to beat Manchester United in the Carling Cup.
Derby County Team News:
Derby – Matt Oakley and Ryan Smith are expected to be in contention again after shaking off a virus that ruled them out of the win over Sheffield Wednesday.
Three players made their Rams debuts that afternoon – Gary Teale, Stephen Pearson and Craig Fagan.Pearson and Fagan appeared as second-half substitutes, and showed a great deal of quality, and will be pushing for their first starts.
Player to watch: Steve Howard
Has been a little light in the goal department over the last few weeks. But he will thrive on the service of new signing Gary Teale. His aerial threat will cause the Shrimpers defence problems and he will hope to add to his 10 goals for the season.
Match Facts & Stats
Last time we met the Shrimpers at Roots Hall
Manager Jim Smith’s gamble worked like a charm at Roots Hall when the Rams appeared to be heading for their fourth successive draw.
Had the score stayed at 1-1, the Rams would have looked back on a decent performance but endured nightmares about their finishing.
Southend United, despite an imposing home record, were opened up frequently, especially in the second half, but Dean Sturridge suffered an afternoon when the shots would not go in.
With five minutes remaining, Smith played an attacking substitution. Sean Flynn and Marco Gabbiadini replaced Lee Carsley and Chris Powell in an attempt to turn one point into three.
A minute later, Mick Bodley failed to clear a low centre form Flynn, Simon Royce blocked Sturridge’s shot and Ron Willems drove in the rebound.
The Rams, behind at the interval after Andy Thomson diverted Mike Marsh’s shot, kept playing and finally turned their domination into victory.
Even then, there was more drama to come. A clash off the ball left Igor Stimac flat on the ground and, after consulting a linesman, referee John Kirkby sent off Dave Regis.
Southend United: Royce, Hone, Barness, Dublin, Bodley, Gridelet, Marsh, Tilson (Jones, 88), Regis, Thomson (Byrne, 88), Hails. Other sub: Roget.
Derby County: Hoult, Rowett, C. Powell (Gabbiadini, 85), D. Powell, Yates, Stimac, van der Laan, Sturridge, Willems, Simpson, Carsley (Flynn, 85). Other sub: Hodges.
Referee: J.A. Kirkby (Sheffield).
Previous Meeting Shrimpers v Rams at Roots Hall
Southend 1 – Thomson
Derby County 2 – Simpson, Willems
Southend 1 – Regis
Derby County 0
Southend 4 – Ansah (2), Sussex, Otto
Derby County 3 – Simpson (2), Johnson
Southend are unbeaten in the last six games, but are still sitting on the bottom of the table. The Rams new players will have had time to gel in the side, so my prediction is: – Southend 1 Derby County 3