Who Are Ya... Southend (away)
Oh, Freddie Freddie Freddie. Southend have missed Eastwood`s quality in a season so far packed with the good (a 4-1 cup win against Cheltenham), the bad (a 2-1 reverse at home v Leyton Orient) and the just plain ugly (a 4-1 loss against Leeds United).
Here at VitalWatford we can`t help but think that Shrimpers Boss, Steve Tilson is more 'Essex` than bright white stilettos and suped up Escort GTIs with furry dice hanging from the ol` rear view. Having spent most of his playing days in the non/lower leagues (with 84 goals in 390 games), Tilson started managerial life at Canvey Island but made his name at Roots Hall with a 40% win rate.
He has even been linked with vacant positions at WBA and Norwich in the last 18 months and helped out with Peter Taylor`s U21 England side you know…
MORE THAN HIS 15 MINUTES OF FAME…
With no Eastwood to hog the limelight at the Hall, step forward longs standing goalkeeper Daryl Flahavan to get the headlines. He ain`t the biggest that`s for sure (at only 5,11) but he`s done enough in over 250 games at Southend to prove he is good enough to play at a higher level and let`s be honest, you don`t get named as League 1 Player of the Year in a promotion season if you can`t walk the walk.
BETTER KEEP AN EYE ON…
Jamaican International and Barnsley target, Jamal Campbell Ryce, has the trickery and pace on the right wing to give Jordan Parkes a hard time, should the Hornets youngster get a start. Here at VitalWatford Towers we reckon that the ex Charlton and Orient man has a touch of the 'Albert Jarratts` about him and he probably doesn`t net as many as he should but there`s no doubt if he`s on it, he`s on it…So let`s hope then that he`s not er…on it.
THE FUTURE`S BRIGHT
Stevie T has built up a team with experienced head backed up by youthful legs and youngsters Franck Moussa (Belgium U18 International via West Ham), 19 year old striker Gary Hooper (signed from Grays Athletic) and full back Gary Richards are the pick of the crop coming through. One time Hornet target Simon Francis (a casualty of Neil Warnock`s revolving door at Brammal Lane) will put some pace into the back line whilst U21 Hungarian International centre back Zoltan Liptak, will know all about Priskin, should both the East Europeans get a start.
THE 'MUST WIN` HEAD TO HEAD
Bangura and Rinaldi showed in the Gills game that they could strike up a good partnership but their potential will have to be on guard against the Shrimpers to get to grips with Alan McCormack (ex PNE) and Mark Gower. Irishman McCormack is still establishing himself in the Southend engine room whilst ex Spurs and Motherwell man Gower has already fired off 10 shots this season and netted in the 2-1 defeat against Leyton Orient.
BIG UP TOP?
Ah bless…veteran journeyman Lee Bradbury has been loaned out to Bournemouth as he missed the south coast a little too much and his goals will be sorely missed (he netted a hat-trick in the last round v Cheltenham). Billy Paynter and Matthew Harrold will be fighting out to partner, ruthless non league finisher, Charlie McDonald upfront. Ex Celtic man Richie Foran is suspended as he closes in on 50 league goals. Shame.
AIN`T YOU PAST IT?
Captain Kevin Maher is Mr Southend. Yet he`s still only 30 (dear god, here at VitalWatford Towers we thought he was older than Southend`s creaking pier!!!) With over 365 games for the Shrimpers under his belt since leaving White Hart Lane, you can bet his 10 year service carriage clock takes pride of place on his yellow and blue painted fireplace.
MISSING YOU ALREADY…
The Shrimpers will have to do without Scottish International left back Steven Hammell who injured himself preseason. Hammell was the subject of a £1m bid from Celtic in his Motherwell playing days and turned down offers from Aberdeen and Southampton. His absence has opened the door for Arsenal loanee Kerrea Gilbert to get a starting berth in defence.
DR WATFORD`S GREAT BIG 'I NEVER KNEW THAT` MOMENT
According to our good friends at Wikipedia.org (the online equivalent of Encyclopedia Britannia without the hardsell door to door salesmen), Shrimpers winger Tommy Black - yes the ex Arsenal and Palace playboy - turned down a move to the Vic this summer in favour of a transfer to Southend. (Hmm, the thought of the all those Essex girl groupies might have swayed the VitalWatford decision as well you know).
VERDICT - THE 'GOOD SHIP BOOTHROYD` OUTLOOK
Misty. It`s a tough call to know how the Horns will get on. On paper it looks plain sailing since Southend have lacked a cutting edge this season so far this season and been beaten heavily by Leeds. But until the opening goal, Watford were heavy legged against Gillingham so it could be a testing 90 minutes.