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Home is where the hurt is for Southend United
TO say Southend United’s 0-0 draw with York City was uneventful would arguably be the biggest understatement of the season so far.
Both sides struggled to create clearcut chances during a drab goalless draw.
And there was therefore very little to entertain the supporters.
The draw saw Blues drop out of the top half of the League Two table and also continued their indifferent run of results at Roots Hall.
The share of the spoils took the winless streak of home league games to four and meant that just two points were taken from the 12 on offer against Burton, Barnet, Aldershot and York in recent weeks. Southend would have been hoping for a far higher tally and improvements do need to be made if Paul Sturrock’s side are again to be involved in a push for promotion.
However, right now the team lacks the quality it had last season when they only just missed out on securing League One status and the conundrum is now how to get back to that consistent level of performance.
Central midfield had been a huge problem but new loan signing Marc Laird made a good first impression against York and Tamika Makandawire should soon also arrive on loan from Millwall.
But, with his arrival being delayed, Alex Woodyard was again given another opportunity to impress, and his fine form in the last two games has been by far the biggest positive during a disappointing spell for Blues.
The young midfielder has shown confidence and maturity beyond his years and has also added extra bite to the team.
As well as that, Southend still have the influential Michael Timlin to return from an ankle injury and attention therefore switches to other areas of the team.
A new left winger should be high on the wanted list and Gavin Tomlin struggled badly in that position at the weekend.
David Martin has also failed to cause opposing full-backs problems on a consistent basis and it could soon be worth trying the on loan Jonson Clarke-Harris in that role.
The teenager, who is with Southend from Peterborough, has played just 15 minutes spread across three different games since coming to the club and the extent of his talents will not be known unless he plays more often.
And, with Blues unable to splash cash to bring in signings, it would make sense to give somebody already in the squad an opportunity to impress.
If he then fails to make the most of any extra minutes coming his way then other avenues could be explored, but those already on the books should be given a go before recruitments are sought.
Southend are also crying out for a targetman-type of striker and that has been shown by the success both Ryan Cresswell and Barry Corr have had when used sparingly in that role.
However, Cresswell remains Blues’ most impressive defender and Corr is nowhere near full fitness after an extended spell on the sidelines.
As a result, while the Irishman attempts to improve his match sharpness, another tall forward with good aerial ability would be a welcome addition to the team.
Of course, it remains to be seen if the budget allows for further signings to be made and some players may well need to be let go before others can come in.
But if Southend are to improve and get anywhere near repeating what they did last season then more loan signings do need to be made.
Because Saturday’s 0-0 draw and the last few home games have shown that this Southend side is in real need of strengthening if success is to be secured during the remainder of the current campaign.