ARGYLE and Southend United both go into Saturday’s Sky Bet League One game off the back of strong home wins.
Argyle beat Oxford United 3-0 on New Year’s Day, while goals from Sam Mantom and Taylor Moore helped Southend inflict a 2-0 defeat over Gillingham.
The victory was mostly thanks to an inspired performance by 19-year-old goalkeeper Nathan Bishop, who helped the Shrimpers to their sixth home win of the season, despite having striker Theo Robinson sent off late on.
Robinson may be replaced by veteran 31-year-old striker Simon Cox, who is the Shrimpers’ top goalscorer this season, with nine league goals.
Cox is an experienced striker with international pedigree, scoring four goals in 30 appearances for the Republic of Ireland, and may represent Argyle’s biggest threat this weekend.
Other notable players for United include winger Michael Kightly and centre-back Michael Turner, both of whom have a wealth of Premier League experience, with Burnley and Hull City respectively.
Away from the football, Southend United have received a winding-up order from HM Revenues and Customs this week as their previous financial troubles have come back to haunt them.
Despite those concerns, they are situated in ninth place in the table, 11 points ahead of Argyle.
However, the Shrimpers will not be taking this game lightly as they lie closer to the relegation zone than the play-offs, giving an indication of the tight nature of this division.
United have had mixed results at home, picking up 19 points out of a possible 39, whereas Argyle will be looking for their third away win of the season.
The earlier league fixture this season, at Home Park in August, was a hot-tempered match which finished 1-1, with Southend’s Jason Demetriou scoring a penalty to cancel out Graham Carey’s earlier spot-kick.
Argyle manager Derek Adams and his Shrimpers counterpart Chris Powell were sent to the stands in the first half. The pair had the dubious honour of being the first managers to be sent off under new rules allowing referees to give out red cards to managers or coaches.