SOUTHEND United manager Phil Brown hopes his side are facing high-flying Rochdale at just the right the stage of the season.

Second placed Dale have started to stutter in recent weeks having previously been on a great run of form.

And Brown wants Blues to be able to capatilise on that this afternoon.

“Rochdale haven’t won for three games and they haven’t scored for three games either so I’m pretty sure that will be playing on their minds right now,” said the Shrimpers boss.

“I’m not playing mind games or anything like that but they can almost smell promotion now and maybe that’s got to them.

“They are obviously a very strong side though so we know we’re in for a real test but it’s one we’re looking forward to.

“It’s a huge weekend for us with two games in the space of four days and while four points from them would be great six would be magnificent and would really put us in a great position.”

Blues head in to the weekend sixth in the League Two table.

And Brown again has a number of selection dilemmas for the game.

“We had Freddy Eastwood and Bedsente Gomis playing well against Gillingham in the week but there are several others pushing for recalls too so plenty of thought will have to go in to the picking the team again,” said Brown.

“The likes of Luke Prosser, Adam Thompson, Conor Clifford, Marc Laird, Anthony Straker and Barry Corr are all chomping at the bit and we also have Jacob Murphy pushing for a start so we’re certainly not short of options.

“But we’re mentally and physically prepared and we’re ready for the challenges we have coming up.”