MX23RW : Monday, January 21 04:09:50
May 10, 2015 at 6.35pm UK at ​Lamex Stadium
SouthendSouthend United
Parrett (51')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Corr (60')

Preview: Stevenage vs. Southend United

Sports Mole previews the first leg of the League Two playoff semi-final between Stevenage and Southend United.

Stevenage play host to Southend United in the first leg of their League Two playoff semi-final on Sunday afternoon as both teams look to move a step closer to Wembley.

Despite the two teams being separated by just one position in the standings, Southend ended the campaign 12 points ahead of their opponents, but the clubs go into this weekend's fixture on a level playing field.


A general view as Everton players warm up prior to the Budweiser FA Cup fourth round match between Stevenage and Everton at the Lamex Stadium on January 25, 2014© Getty Images

After suffering relegation last year Stevenage could have struggled to get back on their feet, but Graham Westley has done an excellent job in giving the club a chance to bounce straight back to League One.

Westley would have targeted a playoff spot at the start of the season, and that's what has been achieved thanks to a strong end to the regular campaign.

A total of 15 points were recorded during their remaining eight games, but goals remain an issue with the team failing to score more than two in a match since February 28.

Striker Charlie Lee is Boro's top goalscorer but he has yet to reach double figures and has only netted twice since the start of 2015.

Throughout the season the club have been reliant on their home form, with 15 games being won in 23 attempts at the Lamex Stadium.

That record suggests that a positive result in the first leg is pivotal, and Westley should have no problems lifting his side after their last-day defeat at Luton Town.

Recent form: WWWDWL

Southend United

Southend United manager Phil Brown looks on as the players warm up prior to the Sky Bet League Two match between Southend United and Northampton Town at Roots Hall on August 17, 2013© Getty Images

Ahead of the final day of the season, Southend looked on course for automatic promotion but defeat to Morecambe has left the club having to settle for the playoffs.

The loss was a bitter blow to the Shrimpers but after occupying a playoff spot for four months, they are unlikely to be negative come the weekend.

Before the Morecambe setback, manager Phil Brown had seen his team record seven successive wins, all of which included a clean sheet.

Despite conceding three times in the North-West, Brown won't lose sight of their performances over the past six weeks, but he will be aware that they must find an extra cutting edge inside the penalty area.

Southend haven't scored twice in a game since March 14, but they travel to Stevenage with one of the best away records in the league having won 12 times in 23 games.

Recent form: WWWWWL

Team News

Preston North End manager Graham Westley shouts instructions to his team during the npower League One match between Preston North End and MK Dons at Deepdale on October 14, 2012© Getty Images

Westley will revert back to his normal starting lineup after opting to rest players in their final game of the campaign.

However, he won't confirm his team until assessing the fitness of Ronnie Henry and Dean Parrett, who have both been struggling this week with injury.

Brown could keep faith with the team that lost to Morecambe, but he has doubts over a number of his squad.

Jerome Binnom-Williams, Myles Weston and Lee Barnard will all need to pass late fitness tests in order to be considered for selection.

Stevenage possible starting lineup:
Day, Bond, Wells, Dembele, Okimo, Whelpdale, Parrett, Conlon, Pett, Beardsley, Martin

Southend United possible starting lineup:
Bentley, Leonard, Bolger, Barrett, Coker, Atkinson, Timlin, Deegan, Worrall, Payne, Corr

Head To Head

Due to Stevenage spending much of their existence in non-League, the rivalry between the two clubs only started in 2010.

Since then, four matches have taken place, with Southend winning twice and Stevenage prevailing once.

However, Stevenage have lost neither of their home games with Southend and did enough to come away with a 4-2 triumph when they last met in February.

Sports Mole Logo

We say: Stevenage 1-1 Southend United

After suffering just three defeats at home all season, Stevenage will be confident of coming away from the first leg with a positive result, but Southend have been equally productive on the road and they should have enough quality in their ranks to earn a share of the spoils.

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Who will win Sunday's match between Stevenage and Southend?

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