Southend’s recent form has all but ended hope of achieving a play off spot, without a win in six they face a Barnsley side who have forgotten what it’s like to lose.
The Reds have just one loss in their past 15 games and that was a 1-0 defeat in the FA Cup to Premier League Burnley. The visitor’s last league defeat was to Wycombe in early December, since then they have continued their assault on the league table and now see themselves sitting in second place, now just five points behind top of the league Luton who are on their own incredible run. Sunderland lurk two points behind Barnsley with a game in hand, but the gap could be up to five by the time Sunderland play Plymouth on Saturday.
By comparison, Southend are having a nightmare. Just three wins in their last 12 League One games has seen them slide down the league and out of contention for the play offs. The Shrimpers now trail the play offs by 13 points and more worryingly they are just seven points above the relegation zone, failure to right their form soon could see a nervy last 10 games. The bottom of the table is very tight, with 23rd placed Bradford separated from 13th placed Southend by just eight points.
Going by the form book this looks a routine victory for Barnsley, they’re understandably the favourites to win the game at a price of 1.73.
Barnsley are on of three sides in League One who are unbeaten at home this campaign. Along with Luton and Sunderland, a trip to Oakwell hasn’t born much fruit for their opponents. Southend will take some hope from Barnsley’s record on the road, which is by no means poor but all five of the Yorkshire side’s defeats have come away from home. In addition, Barnsley haven’t scored in their last two outings, drawing 0-0 with both Portsmouth and Burton, couple this with a Southend side who haven’t struggled to find the net at Roots Hall and this could be more of a stumbling block than it looks.
Only the leagues top three sides along with Plymouth and Doncaster have registered more home goals than Southend have this season, scoring 27 times in their 17 matches in front of their own fans. On average Barnsley do ship at least a goal per game in away games, so Southend will be confident of getting themselves on the scoresheet, whether that’ll be enough for a result is a different story. You can get Southend to score one or more goals in the match at odds of 1.53.
This clash see’s some of the leagues top marksmen taking centre stage. Kieffer Moore is the leagues third top scorer with 16 and has shared a fruitful partnership with Cauley Woodrow which has propelled Barnsley to where they are in the table. Of Moore’s 16 goals, he has scored eleven of them away from home and Southend will have a real job on their hands trying to keep him at bay. Moore is the bookies joint favourite for a goal, along with his partner Cauley Woodrow. The pair are priced at 4.33 to score first or 2.3 anytime.
For Southend their hope lies with journeyman centre forward Simon Cox. Cox has 13 goals of his own this season and has lived up to his fox in the box reputation, eight of his goals have come at Roots Hall including his superb hat trick that saw his side come from 3-0 down against Portsmouth two weeks ago. Cox is priced at 7.0 to score first or 3.5 anytime and represents some real value.
Both teams to score @ 1.91
Barnsley to win and both teams to score @ 3.75
Kieffer Moore to score anytime @ 2.3