Chris Phillips, the Southend Echo’s chief sports reporter, reflects on the Shrimps’ season so far...
The campaign has been a little bit up and down for Chris Powell’s side, with the injury situation playing a massive part.
There are presently nine players sidelined and it has been an ongoing problem spread over different matches and alternative times of the season.
As a result, the starting line-up fluctuates, while there is no style of play or formation. Considering Southend are presently 10th, that is quite an achievement bearing in mind the injury issues.
In that respect, you would say it has been okay so far.
Ahead of the campaign, the aim was a little higher, a play-off push was talked about among supporters and mentioned in polls.
That optimism was driven by the encouraging performance of Powell after arriving as Phil Brown’s replacement a year ago this month.
Southend were one place and one point above the relegation upon his appointment, but went on to finish 10th, reflecting the turnaround he had inspired.
A popular former player with almost 300 games for the club, his return brought a smile back to people’s faces, making everything a bit more enjoyable following Brown’s five years at the helm.
Unfortunately, though, the freak situation with injuries have hampered progress this season. They have explored the reasons behind that, but it seems a bit bizarre.
In terms of stand-out performers this term, Taylor Moore, who is on loan from Bristol City, has really impressed with his consistency and displays.
He is a 21-year-old centre-back who has skill on the ball and, fortunately, has been one of those to escape injury, making 24 appearances so far.
Top-scorer Simon Cox has also done well, the striker registering nine times.
Powell has treated the Checkatrade Trophy really seriously, playing his strongest teams in previous rounds. Then again, he’s had to.
Such is the injury list, there is not much scope for rotation and resting players in this competition – and I expect it to be the same against Portsmouth.