It won’t be sun, seas and sand on a Tuesday evening but a trip to Southend awaits the Fleet nonetheless. A brand new opposition and fixture in the clubs’ history will take place at Roots Hall with the two sides going head to head in a competitive match for the first time.
Following Saturday’s result and point at Fylde, Dennis Kutrieb looked ahead to Tuesday’s match and said, “It’s a very quick turnaround, but I think everyone is looking forward to it. It’s a great crowd, a great stadium and they are a together side. We need to make sure we deliver the basics as it will be a big game for us.”
Due to off-field issues, Southend were deducted 10 points earlier this season so lie in a false position, currently 15th with eight wins to their name. And the Shrimpers would have sat in the play-off places had they not received their points deduction. During their last league match, also at Roots Hall, the hosts rampaged their way to a 5-0 victory over Solihull Moors – new loan signing from Charlton Daniel Kanu finding the back of the net four times. The Fleet secured their second draw of the season, meanwhile, with that trip to AFC Fylde to end a run of three defeats.
Currently on loan from Ipswich, Nick Hayes has been fighting for the number one spot against David Martin, brother of Fleet’s Joe. The former MK Dons and West Ham keeper signed for the Shrimpers after the season began and made more than 275 appearances during his seven-year spell with the Dons from 2010-17.
In defence is Harry Taylor who arrived at Roots Hall at the start of last season, having spent 10 years at Barnet. He broke through into the first team there in 2014 following three years in the academy where he was snapped up from the Chelsea ranks in 2012.
While the Fleet defence will need to keep an eye out for Kanu, Southend’s leading goalscorer this season is Harry Cardwell, who sits on 11 goals. The former Scotland youth international has made 52 appearances for Tuesday’s opponents with 19 goals to his name.
Kevin Maher is no stranger to Southend supporters having spent 10 years at the club from 1998-2008, where he made 383 appearances. Following his retirement, his first managerial role was coaching Southend’s youth ranks for four years. He since became caretaker manager at Bristol Rovers on two occasions before moving to Roots Hall in 2021 and will take charge of his 104th match on Tuesday.
Maher’s coaching team includes former Fleet player of the year Mark Bentley and aside from the obvious David and Joe Martin connection, Shaq Coulthirst played alongside Wes Fonguck at Barnet. Former Shrimpers in the Fleet squad include Luke O’Neill and Josh Wright.
Southend advise booking tickets online from here but you can also do so on the night by cash or card, up until kick-off, in person at the ticket office. Buying in advance will make you a saving.