Date: 15th March 2011 at 1:49pm
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A clash of the mid-table titans tonight, if either of these clubs have faint play-off hopes then one or both of them could end tonight.

Southend sit two spots behind us in the league with only 8 goals separating us. They even have the same W/D/L record for the season as ourselves.

We both go into this game believing that a win could have us back on track for the play-offs, with only Bury in the top 7 in action tonight, the gap could close significantly between 7th placed and the chasing pack behind them.

Last time out against Southend it was a comfortable 2-0 win at Roots Hall. Arguably one of the easier wins of the season, Southend did look destined for a tough season. However, they seem to have turned it around impressively and it could prove a tough match tonight.

Vital Quotes:

David Artell:

We went to Southend and I think they were in a bit of turmoil off the pitch at the time. They had their debt and were short of players but we know they are a very capable team.

‘Don’t get me wrong, we played very well on the day. To win 2-0 away from home anywhere is impressive, especially against a team that had been relegated from League One just a few months before.

‘They have been on a good run since and will be fancying their chances of grabbing a play-off place’

Paul Sturrock:

‘It’s a big game tonight. If we don’t win and results go against us then the play-offs could seem a long way away. But we are all focusing on trying to get the three points and giving ourselves a chance.

‘Of course Crewe are also hoping to close the gap on the play-offs themselves. they had a great result at the weekend against Chesterfield and anyone who can beat the top of the table side are no walkovers.’

Crewe Alexandra Team News:

Dario could be set to name an unchanged side for the fourth game running.

There are still question marks over Ashley Westwood and Clayton Donaldson however. Both took knocks in the game against Chesterfield and failed to train yesterday, however the club say both are expected to be fit enough for tonight.

Dario will be asking Artell if he can face another game in quick successive after supposedly tiring on Saturday. It’d be a surprise if he said no.

Likely team: Taylor, Ada, Artell, Dugdale, Blanchett, Murphy, Westwood, Bell, Moore, Donaldson, Miller

Player to watch: Byron Moore

Wants to leave for a higher division but has shown no consistency. Not had a great game in a few weeks, so we need to see more from Byron!

Southend United Team News:

Left back Peter Gilbert and midfielder Craig Easton are confirmed adbsentees for tonight.

Gilbert was taken off during their game at Lincoln on Saturday with an ankle injury whilst Easton has a calf injury.

Anthony Grant will deputise for Easton whilst there is competition for the left back spot with both Miguel Comminges and Johnny Herd, a former Alex trialist, in with a shout.

Likely team: Evans, Comminges, Clohessy, Barker, Coughlan, Hall, Grant, Sawyer, Ferdinand, Sutrrock, Corr

Player to watch: Barry Corr

Southend’s top scorer therefore the obvious choice. Although 25, it’s Corr’s first real season as a out and our first choice striker and so far he has netted 16 goals.

Has not scored in a couple of weeks but has rarely gone two or three games without a goal so keep an eye out.

Match Facts & Stats

Crewe have not beaten Southend at Gresty Road since 13th March 1987, although tonight will be only their fourth visit since then.

They are also leading the head-to-heading record comfortably. Southend have beaten us 17 times whilst we’ve only had the better of them 8 times with 6 draws.

Ref Watch:

Referee: G Eltringham
Assistants: A R Parker and N Smith
Fourth Official: S J Copeland

Match Prediction:

Crewe 2-2 Southend

Next Fixtures:

It’s a trip to Oxford on Saturday.