The Opposition View: Southend United

Last updated : 17 February 2018 By Jim Bonner

What's your assessment of Southend's season and what's the expectation now? 

Disappointing until the last few weeks, Chris Powell is a very welcome appointment and has brought a positive vibe back to Roots Hall. I don't think Southend fans expect much out of the season now, we've climbed the table recently when things were starting to look a little worrying and play offs are obviously something to aim for, but certainly not expected.

Did Phil Brown deserve to be sacked and how has Chris Powell's appointment changed things? 

I would say so, it was pretty unanimous in calling for him to go. He had a good few years for us but performances and results this season had been disappointing, and fans got a bit tired of the blame always being shifted away from himself or his tactics and onto the players. Since Chris Powell has come in they have had 10 points out of a possible 12 and there seems to be a lot more fight about the players, performing better as a team, winning second balls etc.

Who are the key players in the current Southend squad? 

Michael Kightly has been playing well recently so will be a miss on Saturday, but others to look out for are Simon Cox (hasnt scored recently but had three assists the other day),

Michael Turner (has been a rock at the back recently), Dru Yearood (17/18 years old but has been given a run in the team and looks very promising.)

What are the strengths and weaknesses of this current Shrimpers side? 

This is tricky, earlier in the season I would have said a very leaky defense but that seems to have improved over the last few games (Ferdinand in particular). Their strength at the moment is that confidence is as high as it's been all season which has resulted in every player getting stuck in and playing more effectively as a team.

What did you think of the reverse fixture at Fratton Park earlier in the season? 

I think the result was probably fair but a draw wouldn't have been outrageous. There were chances missed at both ends, I remember Pompey missed a couple of chances right at the start of the game that drew big sighs of relief from the Southend fans, but then equally Nile Ranger blazed that penalty over. A bit of a painful watch at the time!

What kind of match can we expect to see at Roots Hall on Saturday

Well, the pitch is in a bit of a sorry state at the moment (possibly an understatement). So I think you can probably expect both teams to play with that in mind... Against Wigan they tried to play which worked but they probably know the good/bad areas of the pitch!

Predict the outcome of the game. 

I'm hopeful we might be able to pinch a win, given both clubs' form of late. I'll go 2-1, but would settle for a draw!