Phil Brown’s Southend United lock horns with Lee Johnson’s Barnsley this afternoon at Roots Hall in Sky Bet League One.
The Shrimpers go into the game on a good run of form, having won five out of their last six games in all competitions, only conceding three goals in the process.
After an impressive September, where they picked up seven points out of a possible 12, Johnson’s Tykes have been disappointing this month. So far in October, they’ve failed to pick up a point in the league, but the Yorkshire club were victorious at Valley Parade on Tuesday night against Bradford City in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
The hosts may be boosted by the return of trio Kevan Hurst, Stephen McLaughlin, and Adam Thompson this afternoon, but will still be without experienced defender Adam Barrett and veteran striker Noel Hunt who are both nursing injuries.
The return from international duty of Conor Wilkinson, Simeon Jackson, and Dan Crowley is a positive for Barnsley, but Johnson could be without captain Conor Hourihane as he picked up a hamstring injury during that victory against Bradford in midweek.
At the start of the season, the priority for Southend would have been survival, having just been promoted from the League Two via the play-offs. However, the Essex club have been somewhat a surprise package in League One, and currently sit seventh after five wins from their opening 12 games.
Barnsley would have been looking for a strong start to the 2015/16 season, but it hasn’t panned out at all perfectly thus far. They are placed 13th in the league, already six points off the play-offs, yet with 35 games left in their league season, it is still a realistic possibility for Johnson’s men to achieve promotion.
Southend and Barnsley fans… what are your predictions for the match? Can the Shrimpers continue their good form? Or will the Tykes get their first league win of October? Let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!