Southend United and Leyton Orient resume their rivalry for the all-important second leg of the JPT Southern Area Final. The Sky Sports cameras will once again cover the action as both sides compete for a place in the final at Wembley Stadium. Southend hold a slender 1-0 lead after Ryan Leonard gave them the edge at Brisbane Road. Here we preview Wednesday night’s action:
Top scorer: Gavin Tomlin 15 League Two: 9th FA Cup: 3rd round League Cup: 1st round Cards: 42 Yellow 5 Red
Southend have not won in the three games they have played since the win over the O’s in the first leg. They played out a 1-1 draw with Accrington Stanley away from home and they have lost their last two matched at Roots Hall. Just over a week ago they hosted Cheltenham Town but they were defeated by two goals to one.
They suffered the same result last weekend against Northampton Town. The Shrimpers were a goal down after just 11 minutes as Roy O’Donovan bagged a goal for the Cobblers. Things got even worse for the home side as Bilel Mohsni saw red for a high challenge on Chris Hackett. Despite their numerical disadvantage Southend equalised thanks to loanee Matthew Lund. However, they were denied a point in the ninetieth minute when Northampton’s Kelvin Langmead headed home the winner.
Southend’s poor league form has seen them slip to 9th place in League Two.
The Shrimpers defeated AFC Wimbledon, Dagenham & Redbridge, Brentford and Oxford on their way to the JPT Area Final.
Southend’s squad is depleted and manager Paul Sturrock could have nine players unavailable for selection.
Both Marc Laird and Michael Spillane are cup-tied, having featured for Orient and Dagenham & Redbridge respectively in the earlier rounds of the tournament.
Ryan Cresswell and Bilel Mohsni will also miss the visit of Leyton Orient as both are serving suspensions. Cresswell was sent off in the 1-1 draw against Accrington, while Mohsni will begin a three match ban following his dismissal at the weekend.
The Shrimpers also have a number of players on the treatment table. After it emerged that loanee Caolan Lavery would be out for 6-8 weeks with a hamstring injury he returned to Sheffield Wednesday. Southend captain Chris Barker is also expected to be missing due to a calf injury, while Mark Phillips is likely to be ruled out due to a toe injury.
Top goalscorer Gavin Tomlin has been missing through thigh injury in recent weeks and he looks set to miss out again. Michael Timlin is certain to miss the crucial match as he suffered a broken leg against the O’s at Brisbane Road.
With three of the back four that started the first leg set to miss out, Paul Sturrock may have to call upon striker Barry Corr to play in central defence just as he did at the weekend. He is likely to line up alongside Anthony Straker, Luke Prosser and Sean Clohessy in defence.
Since their last meeting against the O’s at the start of the month, the Shrimpers have loaned midfielders Matthew Lund and Danny Mayor from Stoke City and Sheffield Wednesday respectively. Both are eligible to play against the O’s on Wednesday night.
In March 2010, John Spicer joined the O’s on loan from Doncaster for the rest of the campaign. He made nine appearances during his short loan spell, scoring one goal. He joined the Shrimpers in August 2012 and so far he has played 13 games.
Marc Laird signed for Orient in July 2011, but he struggled to establish himself in the team. He featured 29 times for the O’s notching two goals but he found his first team opportunities increasingly limited and as a result he was loaned out to Southend in October 2012. He impressed for the Essex side, scoring two goals in 15 starts and the move was made permanent at the start of last month.
On Saturday, Orient suffered a 2-1 defeat at League One strugglers Hartlepool, thanks to two late goals from the home side. After missing in the previous week against Tranmere, Martin Rowlands once again stepped up to take a spot kick and this time he converted to put the O’s one nil up after just eight minutes. The away side then spurned a number of chances to extend their lead, and their profligacy proved costly. Peter Hartley headed in an equalising goal in the 88th minute and then Luke James snatched the all three points with a winning goal in injury time.
The O’s defeated Barnet, Northampton and Yeovil to make it to the JPT Area Final.
Russell Slade has a few injury problems within his squad ahead of the visit of Southend. Gary Sawyer was stretchered off against Hartlepool on Saturday and he will miss the match against Southend. Although he is thought to have begun light training, Kevin Lisbie is not expected to play a part at Roots Hall. Lee Butcher remains on the sidelines as he continues his recovery from the knee injury that he suffered last term.
Dean Cox missed the trip to Hartlepool with a thigh strain and he remains an injury doubt for Wednesday’s match.
Much of Russell Slade’s team selection depends on whether Cox is fit enough to feature, if he is Odubajo will fill one of the full back positions. However if Cox is ruled out, Odubajo will play on the right wing leaving two full back positions free. Leon McSweeney seems to be the most likely candidate to come in at left back in Sawyer’s absence. Orient captain Nathan Clarke came on at right back at the weekend and he could continue in that role, but he will face competition from Elliot Omozusi and Romain Vincelot, who could play on either side of defence.
It seems likely that Russell Slade will keep the partnerships of Cuthbert and Baudry, and Rowlands and James together. Batt and Mooney will start up front.
Charlie MacDonald joined Southend in the summer of 2007. He spent one season at Roots Hall, scoring 5 goals in 34 games.
Orient have won in three of their last 5 trips to Roots Halls. The last time was in August 2011 when they knocked Southend out of the League Cup by winning 4-3 on penalties.
The O’s also eliminated the Shrimpers away from home in the Football League Trophy in September 2008. Goals from Ryan Jarvis, Adam Chambers, JJ Melligan and Adam Boyd saw the visitors win 2-4.
However, before last season’s League Cup win, the O’s were defeated by three goals to nil on two consecutive visits to Roots Hall.
Referee Andy Woolmer will be assisted by John Busby and Stephen Ross. Iain Williamson will be the Fourth Official for the match.
It is worth noting that if the tie remains level after 90 minutes it will go straight to penalties. There is no away goals rule.