MARTIN Carruthers has labelled Southend United’s clash with York City as a real six pointer.

Carruthers played for both the Shrimpers and the Minstermen during his own career.

And the 51-year-old feels there is no denying the importance of Saturday’s match at Roots Hall between his two former teams.

“Hopefully there are positive times ahead now for Southend but Kev (Maher) still has that 10 point deduction,” said Carruthers.

“Without that they’re just outside the play-offs but the game against York is a real six pointer now when you look at the league table.”

Blues and York both sit just two points above the relegation zone.

But Carruthers is confident the Shrimpers will work their way up the National League table.

“There isn’t much between the bottom and mid-table,” said Carruthers.

“It’s tight so I’m really hopeful Southend can kick on.

“I know Kev is doing a great job there and there have been a few new signings now the embargo has been lifted.

“That should give them a real boost and I’m not sure they’ve got more than enough to get out of trouble.

“They’ll be looking up the table but if they don’t get in the play-offs this year hopefully they’ll push for promotion next year.”

Carruthers still keeps a keen eye on the Shrimpers and looks back on his own spell at Roots Hall with real fondness.

“I have very fond memories from my time there,” said Carruthers.

“We had a great set of lads but the only downside was we never really fulfilled our potential.

“I thought Alan Little was a fantastic manager and coach and we built a really strong side.

“We just never quite clicked and I think we underachieved during my time there.

“It was disappointing but I loved it there and made some great friends I still speak to now.”

Carruthers scored 29 goals in 83 games for Blues between 1999 and 2001.

And he has been saddened by the Shrimpers’ financial struggles in recent seasons along with those of Scunthorpe United, another of his old sides.

“It’s been painful to see,” said Carruthers.

“When I was at Scunthorpe we were always challenging for promotion and they kicked on to end up in the Championship, like Southend.

“To see them fall from grace is so painful and no club should ever be close to going out of business.

“Hopefully they both get back into the Football League soon.”

However, Carruthers – who had a short loan spell with York in 1999 – is now an education manager at Notts County.

And he has therefore seen first hand just how difficult it is to win promotion from the National League.

“The club where I work, Notts County, fell out of the Football League and I think it was four years it took to get back in,” said Carruthers.

“It’s a really hard league as Southend are finding out too.”

But Carruthers believes his former Shrimpers team-mate, Maher, will continue to ensure the club move in the right direction.

“I was delighted to see Kev go in but it’s been a really difficult time for him and the club,” said Carruthers.

“Hopefully with the back of the new owners now he will make a real success of it and I’m sure it will.”

But Carruthers is also looking for his own success in management.

The former forward is in charge of Northern Premier League side Matlock Town.

And he is targeting a strong end of the season.

“We’re doing OK,” said Carruthers.

“We had six points taken off us because a team called Marske dropped out of the league.

“We were four points outside the play-offs and that’s killed us a little bit.

“But we’ve had a lot of games called off so we have quite a few in hand now.

“We’ll try make a real push for the play-offs and we’ve got a Derbyshire Senior Cup semi-final against Buxton next Tuesday so there’s still hope of some silverware.

“All is not lost and we’re feeling positive.”