Southend United v Hartlepool United: Pools looking to continue good form

Hartlepool United travel to Roots Hall to take on Southend United in the National League. (Photo: Mark Fletcher | MI News)
Hartlepool United travel to Roots Hall to take on Southend United in the National League. (Photo: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

John Askey’s side took maximum points from their home double-header against Gateshead and Maidenhead United – demonstrating two different ways to win a game in the process having scored a 90th minute winner against Gateshead before controlling large parts of the game against the Magpies in midweek.

But Pools face a challenging trip to Roots Hall to face a Southend side who have made a surprising start to the new National League season given their off-field difficulties throughout the summer.

Despite concern over the club’s future, the Shrimpers stole the headlines on the opening weekend of the season with an emphatic 4-0 win over one of the favourites in the division, Oldham Athletic, before a 2-0 win over Dagenham & Redbridge.

The Blues were pegged back in midweek, however, as they let a one-goal lead slip away at Dorking Wanderers to suffer their first defeat ahead of Hartlepool’s visit this weekend.

For Pools, though, it is about preparing the squad for another long journey south on the back of a positive week on home soil.

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"The next few days will look different for different players,” explained first team coach Antony Sweeney ahead of the trip to Roots Hall.

"For the lads who have played the majority of the last two games it will be more about recovery just to get them into the best possible condition for Saturday.

"The lads who haven’t had many minutes will work so they’re in a condition to go and impact things.

"They’re just as important as the starting XI to keep them active and in the right frame of mind so that when they get their opportunity they’re in maximum condition to do that, so it’ll be different for different players.

"I’m sure we’ll travel down to Southend and put a team out that will provide them with stern opposition.”

Pools will continue to be without Josh Umerah who remains suspended following a straight red card in the win over Gateshead while Oliver Finney and Matt Dolan, who has missed the last two games, remain doubts.

Joe Grey returned to action in the win over Maidenhead while Kieran Wallace continues his return to full fitness.