Football – England – League Two
Friday 21st December 2012 – Kickoff: 1945hrs
Southend United take on Chesterfield at Roots Hall in a League Two Friday fixture and a win for the Essex outfit would see them leapfrog play-off rivals Bradford City who are involved in midweek FA Cup action at Brentford.
Sixth placed Southend United have recently put together a strong eight match unbeaten run which includes away wins over Bristol Rovers 3-2, Torquay United 4-1, AFC Wimbledon 4-0 and a 3-1 home win over Rochdale along with points taken off York City, Port Vale, Fleetwood Town and Bradford City.
The Shrimpers’ home record is also a solid one as they’ve lost just twice in their last ten at Roots Hall with an overall home record of 4-4-3 14/11. Britt Assombalonga (11 goals, 2 assists), Gavin Tomlin (7 goals, 2 assists), Ryan Cresswell (5 goals, 2 assists) and Kevan Hurst (2 goals, 12 assists) along with Sean Clohessy (4 assists) should keep the play-off candidates out of trouble tonight.
Visitors Chesterfield have also pulled their socks up in recent times as they’ve been unbeaten now in their last five league matches following a run of just two wins in the previous ten league outings. Recent wins over Oxford United 2-1, Cheltenham Town 4-1, away wins at Plymouth Argyle 1-0 and Port Vale 2-0 along with a draw against Burton Albion have kept the Spireites in the hunt for a play-off place and all three points tonight would see them leapfrog tonight’s opponents into sixth place.
Chesterfield have lost just once in their last six away matches which was at Bristol Rovers and their away record stands at 4-4-3 10/9 but have failed to score on four occasions. Striker Jack Lester (6 goals) is their leading scorer but he will be missing on Friday night following a red card against Burton Albion and now misses the next three league matches which is a big blow for Chesterfield as they go into the busy Christmas schedule.
Marc Richards (4 goals, 5 assists) and Tendayi Darwikwa (3 goals, 5 assists) will hold the fort but the loss of Jack Lester should have a negative impact on their next three matches.
Southend have shown solid form in recent weeks and should have enough attacking options to edge this encounter but I recommend taking the round ball with the hosts as we are yet to see how the loss of Lester affects Chesterfield – could be a 2-1 win for Southend United though.
Pick: Southend United AH-0.25 @ 1.86 Pinnacle