Back-to-back away games sees the Coasters make the long journey to Southend United and Roots Hall in the National League.
With both sides needing three points for different reasons, Murray’s men will be hoping they are the ones on the right side of the result against the Shrimpers, who we take a look at in depth.
The Coasters face another away trip this upcoming Saturday to troubled Essex outfit Southend United after suffering their fourth straight defeat on Tuesday night, leaving them at the bottom of the table with one win in ten games.
However, with Tuesday’s second-half performance proving the Coasters can compete at this level, a second win of the season seems to be around the corner.
Defensive reinforcements Kyron Gordon and Sam Graham have both impressed in the games they have played and are key additions to Adam Murray’s squad.
Southend come into this fixture off the back of a comfortable 2-0 home win against Maidenhead United. With the future of the club very much in the air and player availability being stretched to the maximum, Kevin Maher is certainly working his magic in getting results.
Without the well-documented points deduction, the Shrimpers would be sitting in a very respectable 6th position.
However, with more deductions on the horizon, it looks hard to see Southend outside of the table’s bottom half throughout the season.
The Manager: Kevin Maher
Maher started by coming through the ranks at Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur before leaving the North London side without making a first-team appearance and joining second-division side Southend United.
In his first season at Roots Hall, he made just shy of 20 appearances, which unfortunately involved relegation to the third division. The club remained in the third division for seven years, a competition that had its name changed to League Two.
During these years, Maher stayed loyal to the club and became a fan favourite and solid starter, averaging just above 40 appearances per season. Success was few and far between in these years, and it wasn’t until 2004 that the club saw any type of potential trophy.
In the 2003-04 season, the club got to the final of the Football League Trophy but was defeated 2-0 by Blackpool – however, Maher and the Shrimpers would be back at the Millennium stadium shortly.
The following season, they found themselves back in Cardiff in the Football League Trophy Final but were once again defeated, this time by Wrexham. However, it was third time lucky for the Shrimpers as Maher managed to help his team gain promotion via the playoffs, beating Lincoln at the Millenium.
In the following season, Maher made just shy of 50 appearances during a title-winning campaign that sent Southend to the Championship after back-to-back promotions before being relegated back to League One after missing out on safety by seven points. Maher was still going strong in the Shrimpers lineup and still seen as a regular 10 years after his debut season.
Maher’s time at Southend was to come to an end in 2007/08, and he went on to have spells with Gillingham, Oldham, Dagenham & Redbridge, Bray Wanderers and Whitehawk before hanging up his boots.
In 2015, he joined Chelmsford City as a coach and quickly moved into the Caretaker role, but when the opportunity arose, he soon moved back to his beloved Southend as a first-team coach. He remained in that position until the start of the 2019-20 season when he joined the Bristol Rovers backroom staff.
His love for the Shrimpers was clear to see, with Maher rejoining in 2021 as Head Coach, where he achieved a mid-table finish at the first time of asking despite off-field pressure starting to grow.
In Maher’s second season, the Shrimpers missed out on the playoffs by three points and have made a strong start to the 2023/24 season, but the off-field issues are unfortunately still a huge problem at Roots Hall.
Jason Demetriou – A right-back by trade who can easily slot into the midfield, you can class Jason as versatile. As Southend’s longest-serving player, Jason can be seen as the experienced head who knows what it means to play for Southend and is someone who goes above and beyond for his club.
Harry Cardwell – Signed from Chorley a couple of seasons ago, Cardwell is a tall centre-forward who can play with his back to goal as well as being a poacher inside the box. A goal every other game shows that he is more than capable of playing at this level.
Wesley Fonguck – A tricky player with the skill to beat a man and the finesse to score fine goals when required to do so. After making over 100 appearances for Barnet, Fonguck was snapped up by the Shrimpers and has not looked back since.
The meeting between Southend and the Coasters at Roots Hall is the first-ever one, as both sides go in search of a much-needed win for different reasons.
The Shrimpers come into this game sitting in a false position, with results meaning nothing due to the points deduction – however, that has not stopped Kevin Maher’s men from putting on a show.
Five wins, one draw and three losses from their opening 10 games is impressive and would normally have them sitting in a playoff position.
One defeat at home shows that Roots Hall is somewhat of a fortress for the Shrimpers, and the Coasters will have to be on their game from minute one to leave Essex with a positive result.