Southend Echo sports writer, Chris Phillips, gives the lowdown on Chris Powell’s men ahead of their League One visit to Pompey.
Here’s how he rated The Shrimpers’ chances at Fratton Park…
Injuries have been a real problem all season.
There’s not a team who will have had as many as Southend have right now.
After arriving in January, Chris Powell really turned things around at the club.
The Shrimpers collected something like 32 points from 18 games following his arrival.
That return would have been more than enough to see Southend finish in the top six should the campaign have started when he came in.
There was some serious momentum and hopes were high heading into this season, especially with some good signings made as well.
However, the injury situation has been ridiculous.
You could field a team of injured players, it’s that bad.
Adding to that, five of those are ruled out for the season.
It does sound like an excuse and some people will say it is.
But I don’t think any team in the league could cope with the amount of injuries.
It’s been a bit of a crazy time, really.
There was an FA Cup replay and they’re still in the Checkatrade Trophy.
The games have been coming thick and fast, which in many ways was the last thing needed with an already decimated squad.
You can’t just solely blame injuries, though.
There has been inconsistency.
They’ve switched from one formation to another, not enough chances have been taken, and too many goals have been shipped from set-pieces.
You can look at injuries – obviously, that is a major reason why the season has not been going as well as everyone expected.
But at times they have contributed to their own downfall.
Sunderland and Portsmouth are arguably the two hardest games in the league that you could have.
Yet, more recently, Southend have actually had quite a good record at Fratton Park.
That good run came to an end last season but there was a penalty when it was still 0-0.
Obviously, Portsmouth are extremely strong, there’ll be a big crowd in as well.
It’s a test that excites the players.
They more than held their own at Sunderland and should have had a penalty.
They’ll be looking forward to it, but it’s one of the two hardest games in League One at the moment.