Southend United v Darlington- Preview

Last updated : 28 January 2005 By Adam Duffilll

The last time the two sides met was in October last year when an attendance of 3,901 saw the Quakers give the Blues a 4-0 stuffing, just three days after the Seasiders had disposed of fierce rivals Colchester United in the LDV Vans Trophy 1st round, former Middlesbrough star Alun Armstrong grabbed a hat-trick and new signing Clyde Wjnhard scored his first goal for the club-on his debut.

Since that fateful day in early October 2004, The Blues have played another 18 league games and have only lost four times, winning nine of those eighteen. As for Darlo', they have also played excellently since handing out that 4-0 thumping, with Armstrong and Wjnhard continuing to get on the scoresheet they find themselves just two places below the Shrimpers and a win tomorrow could see them leapfrog both the Blues and Northampton to take up fourth place in the league.

As far as recent form goes, Darlington have only lost once from six games and out of those six games they have won four, leaving them as the second best from side in the division. The Quakers have scored 12 goals in those six games, four of which came in the recent drubbing against Shrewsbury Town in their native North-East. Southend have got an equally good record, and are just a place behind the Quakers in the form book having won three, and drawn two from six games. The Shrimpers can also boast the joint best defence in those six matches- conceding just four goals.

In fixtures between the two sides, the Blues have the better record at Roots Hall with eight of the sixteen games ending in a Southend win. However, at the 'Williamson Motors Stadium', Darlington have won six compared to the Shrimpers five. Overall, Southend have won thirteen times with Darlington coming out on top nine times, but what is more incredible is that there have been ten draws between the two sides. A fact that will fill Southend fans with glee is that Darlington haven't won at Roots Hall for five years, the last time being when the Black and Whites took home a 2-0 victory. The last time the two sides met at Roots Hall, Mark Gower gave the Southend the winner despite having been 2-0 down on a bank holiday Monday in April, like tomorrow will be that game was a 'Kids-for-a-Quid' day, which brought a big attendance.

Mark Gower
Gower scored the winner between the two teams during last years outing at Roots Hall

Now that I have filled you up with the statistics, the more interesting stuff can be done! The key men for Darlington are all attackers and have all played at the highest level. Alun Armstrong, who is the Quakers top scorer so far this season with 11 goals in 21 starts, is a former Middlesbrough star and having had to come up against the likes of Sol Campbell and Rio Ferdinand, he certainly knows what to do with defenders at this level. Craig Hignett is another Middlesbrough player who is coming to the end of his playing days but certainly hasn't lost it, having scored eight goals from fourteen games this season, which is actually a better goals to game ratio than team-mate Armstrong despite playing in the midfield. Armstrong's partner up-front is Clyde Wjnhard, whose previous clubs include Huddersfield, Preston and Oldham Athletic with the latter being his most prolific goalscoring wise. The Dutch born striker has soaring pace to beat defenders and has a lethal finish. Luckily for the Blues, it is thought that Wjnhard may miss out tomorrows clash with injury(read below).

On the injury front, Darlington will definetly be without both defender Clarke Keltie(Cartilage) and Adrian Webster, who is suffering from a pulled hamstring. The excellent news for the Blues is that Clyde Wjnhard is suffering from a hip injury and is currently doubtful to start meanwhile another former Middlesbrough name, this time right-back Curtis Fleming is also doubtful with a Back injury. As for the Shrimpers, Bart Griemink will continue to sit out with minor cartiledge damage in his knee but he may be back in time for the crucial match against Swansea next Friday. Andy Edwards is still carrying an injured hamstring sustained in the Essex Senior Cup match against Canvey Island two weeks ago, while Jimmy Corbett hasn't even got out of plaster following his ankle ligament damage around the new years period. Good news for Southend is that Mark Gower has been declared fit to play following a virus but he may have to settle for a place on the bench after the excellent midfield display in the win over Swindon Town in midweek.

Possible Teams:

Southend United: Flahavan, Hunt, Prior, Barrett, Wilson, Pettefer, Maher, Bentley, Nicolau, Dudfield, Eastwood. Subs: Gray, Holloway, Jupp, Gower, Kightly

Darlington: Russell, Valentine, Clarke, Kendrick, Webster, Hignett, Close, Gregorio, Wainwright, Maddison, Armstrong. Subs: St Juste, Hughes, Wjnhard, Convery, Liddle

Referee: Andy Penn (West Midlands)