SOUTHEND United are set to play in front of their biggest home crowd for nearly two-and-a-half years this weekend.

More than 9,800 tickets have already been sold for Saturday’s crucial clash with Sunderland and not since hosting Charlton Athletic in December 2016 have Blues welcomed more than 10,000 fans to Roots Hall.

But, with Kevin Bond’s side likely to need a win to stay up, fans are expected to attend in big numbers.

Promotion-chasing Sunderland are also expected to bring 2,500 fans and Bond is hoping for another good atmosphere.

“The fans have been amazing since I’ve been here,” said Bond.

“We were disappointed we couldn’t get a result for them at Rochdale but I’m sure it will be a great atmosphere at the weekend and we need to win.”