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Preview | Southend United (h)

Notts welcome a remarkably in form Southend United to Meadow Lane on Tuesday night, who despite staring down the barrel of administration, or worse, come into this game with 5 wins in their last 6 National League fixtures.

Off the pitch Kevin Maher has dealt with Southend’s issues admirably, and he’s also done a fine job on the field. 4 wins on the bounce in the league has left the Blues in 6th place. They are a strong side, especially defensively, where their 26 goals conceded is the best in the league.

Southend Boss Kevin Maher
Holding the Fort - Southend Boss Kevin Maher

Despite a slight blip in form in November, Southend look on course to secure a playoff spot come the end of the season. Maher has done so by being tactically flexible. When Notts visited Roots Hall in a 2-2 thriller earlier in the season, Southend matched Notts’ shape, using a wing back system. In recent weeks Maher has deployed a more traditional 4-4-2 system, as well as variations that have seen a midfield 3, while maintaining 2 up top. This switch has been necessitated by the injury to star centre back Kacper Lopata, but nevertheless, the Blues have displayed good versatility in recent weeks.


Current Form:

As already mentioned Southend find themselves in a rich vein of form netting an impressive 15 points from a possible 18 in their last 6 National League games.

Southend's style of play isn't too dissimilar to Notts, they will try to stifle the Magpies with a high energetic press and they are comfortable on the ball suggesting they will be comfortable building from the back. Additionally, like Notts, they like to attack in the wide areas meaning this could be a very interesting tactical battle.

Tactics & Players:

It’s been well publicised in recent weeks that Notts are linked with Southend’s Jack Bridge, and his position has shifted since the game at Roots Hall too. He spent that afternoon as a marauding wing back, but the return of experienced Nathan Ralph to action has freed Bridge up to play in a more advanced role. With less defensive responsibility Bridge has been devastating in attacking, amassing 8 goals and a further 5 assists. He played on the left side of midfield last time out, but has been featuring most commonly on the left of a midfield 3.

Devastating - Jack Bridge
Devastating - Jack Bridge

In this freer, more attacking role Bridge has been provided the licence to go forwards with far more frequency. Bridge was a real threat last time Notts faced the Blues, and with more attacking freedom they should expect him to be even more potent this time. Bridge is a direct, forward thinking dribbler. He loves to get on the ball and drive at defences; only 3 players, one of which is Ruben Rodrigues, have attempted more dribbles than Bridge this season. He was their most threatening player in the first game, and with the recent transfer rumours he’s likely to be more motivated than ever. Bridge is certainly one to watch tomorrow night.

Bridge's attacking role is facilitated by another player who has been linked with a move away in recent times; Jersey international Cav Miley. Wrexham have been sniffing around the midfielder, and it’s certainly easy to see why. Playing at the base of the midfield 3, Miley uses his energy to cover large areas of the pitch, ensuring defensive solidity for those around him. When Bridge pushes forwards Miley shifts over to the left to fill that void, something which suits his natural stronger left foot. He’s a threat going forwards too, with 3 assists to his name; he also almost opened his account for the season last time out against Gateshead.

Miley has been involved in the 2nd most defensive duels of any player in the league this season, showing how active his is in the midfield. He’s won a more than impressive 65.07% of these duels, once again showing how effective and important he is in breaking up play. Southend have wing backs that bomb on, similar to how Notts play, so Miley dropping back to help out the defence is crucial. He also has a good range of passing, making him important in the build up phase too. There’s good reason he’s been included in so many teams of the season so far.

Combative - Cav Miley
Combative - Cav Miley

One player we feel could be a real threat on Tuesday night is right wing back Gus Scott-Morriss. The 25 year old wing back arrived in the summer from Hemel Hempstead, and it appears his upward trajectory is likely to continue. One of the finest full backs in the league, Scott-Morriss is full of energy, something which allows him to get up and down the flank, and be effective in both boxes. Scott-Morriss will certainly look to get forward, and has plenty of box entries. He’s a wing back with plenty of goals too, 4 to be precise, all of which have been scored with his head. Only Wrexham’s Aaron Hayden has scored more headers this term. He looks to get on the end of crosses at the back post, so Cameron and Chicksen will have to be careful when marking the wing back.

Winging it - Gus Scott-Morriss
Winging it - Gus Scott-Morriss


The Shrimpers currently sit in 6th place with 50 points from 30 games giving them an average PPG of 1.66.

They have fared better at home than on the road with a 1.82PPG at Roots Hall compared to 1.46 PPG on their travels.

In attack they are averaging 1.37 goals per game (41) compared to an xG per game of 1.67 suggesting they are not really creating enough to massively improve on that goals for column. In fact away from home that goals tally drops slightly again to 1.30 per game.

Defensively Southend are amongst the best in the league having conceded just 26 goals in those 30 games, a measly 0.87 goals conceded per game compared to an xCG of 0.84 meaning they are performing pretty much exactly as expected at the back, confirming their defensive record has been no fluke.

Southend Away Form:

P 13 | W 5 | D 4 | L 4 | F 17 | A 13 | GD +4 | PTS 19

Leading Scorers:


Macaulay Langstaff - 30 (xG 25.38)


Jack Bridge - 8 (xG 5.12)


With Notts having just won 6 games on the trot the bookies have them firm favourites, especially as it is at home. Coral and Bet365 are offering 67/100 for the home win.

Meanwhile you can currently get 17/4 for a Southend win and 29/10 for the draw with BetUK.

Based on these odds there is a 59.88% chance of a Notts win and 19.05% chance of a Yeovil win.

Final thoughts:

Notts have managed to find a way to win some difficult games lately when in reality performances haven't been the best.

Southend are a team currently galvanised by problems off the park. Add to this the narrative that has been banded around around the whole Jack Bridge affair they will no doubt be ready to take the game to Notts.

Forget the bookies odds, this game will be much closer than they suggest and certainly not one for the feint hearted.

As always thanks for reading.

Full stats report to follow.




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