PREVIEW: Southend Utd vs Gills

The Gills will be backed by over 1,800 fans at Roots Hall when they take on Southend United on Saturday.

Sky Bet League One
Roots Hall
Saturday March 12th
3pm kick-off

MATCH OFFICIALS
Referee: Dean Whitestone
Assistants: Michael George and Christopher Wade
Fourth Official: Nicholas Coope

TEAM NEWS
Defender Deji Oshilaja looks set to feature in the Gills’ line-up for the first time since Christmas, having re-signed on loan from Cardiff City on Monday.

Oshilaja will likely to line up alongside one of Max Ehmer, Aaron Morris or Adam El-Abd in the back four, while right back Ryan Jackson is rated as touch and go for the game at Roots Hall.

Cody McDonald, Bradley Dack, John Egan and Doug Loft will miss out through injury. Manager Justin Edinburgh believes the first three will be back in contention for selection in the coming weeks, with Loft likely to be absent for four to six weeks with an Achilles injury.

THE OPPOSITION
Southend chairman Ron Martin has this week said he would turn down any approach from Bolton Wanderers for manager Phil Brown.

Brown spent six years as an assistant to Sam Allardyce at the Macron Stadium, and has been made favourite among bookmakers to replace the sacked Neil Lennon at the Sky Bet Championship strugglers.

“There has been no approach from Bolton but I wouldn’t allow Phil to talk to them even if there was,” said Martin. “I would also be disappointed if Phil wanted to leave us.”

Southend sit 10th in League One, eight points behind the Gills, and midfielder Jack Payne believes his side are on course for a play-off spot having beaten in-form Barnsley 2-0 last Saturday.

“We started really sharply on Saturday and I think we were playing some of the best football we have all season,” he said. “Hopefully we can go on a good run now and we all really believe we have a very good chance of making the play-offs.”

The Essex club’s squad includes former Gills captain Adam Barrett, a near ever-present in the side this season, and winger Myles Weston. The latter is currently recovering from a foot injury, and played in the Shrimpers’ under-21’s match against Bournemouth on Tuesday.

LAST TIME WE MET
Captain Doug Loft earned the Gills a point in October’s 1-1 draw at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium. Then unbeaten at home in Sky Bet League One, the hosts trailed for the majority of the game, after Steve McLaughlin gave Southend an 11th-minute lead.

However, Loft struck one minute from time, as his cross-turned-shot caught out United goalkeeper Daniel Bentley.

The Gills won on their last visit to Roots Hall, as Chris Whelpdale’s early goal gave them a 1-0 victory on New Year’s Day 2013.

In total the teams have met 106 times, with the Gills winning 42, drawing 28 and losing 36.

FANCY A FLUTTER?
Gillingham win – 19/10
Draw – 23/10
Southend United win – 47/5

For all the latest match odds visit Sky Bet.

MATCH COVERAGE
GillsPlayer will have exclusive live match commentary from 2.50pm with Jamie Reid and Peter Lloyd. To subscribe, click here.

The GillsWall will have interactive text commentary of the match, and the club’s social media channels will be bringing you live updates throughout the day.

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SATURDAY’S SKY BET LEAGUE ONE FIXTURES
Bury vs Shrewsbury Town

Coventry City vs Swindon Town

Crewe Alexandra vs Blackpool

Doncaster Rovers vs Peterborough United

Fleetwood Town vs Barnsley

Millwall vs Sheffield United

Oldham Athletic vs Rochdale

Port Vale vs Burton Albion

Scunthorpe United vs Chesterfield

Walsall vs Colchester United

Wigan Athletic vs Bradford City

*Matches are 3pm kick-offs unless stated

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