Southend United boss Chris Powell believes his team are facing one of the biggest games in the club’s recent history when they entertain fellow strugglers AFC Wimbledon on Saturday.
The Dons are bottom of League One but have been in good form recently, having been unbeaten in their previous five games, winning the last two. In contrast, Southend are on a nine-match winless run that has seen them slide to eighteenth in the table just two points above the dropzone.
Speaking to the Southend Echo ahead of the match Powell felt the outcome of the game was crucial for the Blues season and stressed he had reminded his players of the importance of the game. He said. ‘Saturday is the biggest game we’ve had in a long time, and I’ve told that to the players already.’
‘Whether you’re a young player or an old player it’s a big game and the biggest we’ve had in ages I would say.’
‘We have to pull out a result from somewhere.’
Powell added that he felt the team’s recent poor form was having a detrimental effect on the player’s mentality.’
‘It’s not just physical; I think they’re finding it very hard mentally to turn things around too.’
Blues head into the contest having taken just four points from their last nine games and Powell is desperate for a positive result on Saturday. ‘We have nine games to go and 27 points to play for, but it’s absolutely huge for us this weekend.’ said the Shrimpers boss.
‘I’ve addressed the players and told them to be ready for 3 pm on Saturday.’
‘They have to be ready, and they have to be ready for how the crowd are going to be too.’
‘It’s going to be edgy, and we have to give the supporters something because we haven’t given them enough.’
‘Saturday will be a game the players will need to give absolutely everything they’ve got because we’re in a predicament. It’s a tough situation, and they’re the only ones who can get us out of it.’
Powell’s men have won just one game since New Years Day and lost heavily last time out at Scunthorpe United.
Wimbledon will head to Essex full of confidence having seen off playoff hopefuls Doncaster and Peterborough in their previous two matches.
Another massive game as the League, One relegation battle hots up.
Powell has instilled into his player’s the importance of the match but do they have enough to claim a crucial three points?
Before such an important game is it right to say the players are struggling mentally?
I have my doubts.
They have hit a bad run of form at just the wrong time of the season, and I feel the resurgent Dons will leave Essex with all three points on Saturday.