SOUTHEND United manager Steve Tilson has told his team they must match Cheltenham Town’s work-rate if they are to avoid Carling Cup disappointment tonight.

The Robins, who are bossed by Martin Allen, will be fired up for the first round clash against the Shrimpers.

And Tilson knows Blues must therefore be prepared for a battle.

“You know what you’re going to get from Martin’s teams and they will certainly be up for the game,” said Tilson.

“We will have to match that work-rate and effort and once we do that I would like to think we have more quality in our team and hopefully that will show this evening.”

The clash with the Robins will be the third season in succession that the teams have met at this stage of the competition.

That amazes Tilson but he would love to lead his side on another memorable cup run after taking the Shrimpers into the quarter-finals three seasons ago.

“It would be great to do something like that again but it’s a hard place for us to have to start,” said the Blues boss.

“I find it quite incredible that we’re playing them for the third year in a row but we want to win it and build on our positive opening day performance against Huddersfield.”

Tilson will be without striker Francis Laurent (ankle), winger Damian Scannell (ankle), midfielder Lee Sawyer (ribs) and young forward Craig Calver (suspended).

Defender Osei Sankofa and midfielder Stuart O’Keefe have returned to training but may not be ready to return.

Loanees John White, Matt Heath and Jean-Yves M’Voto have all been given permission to play and Tilson will not be making too many changes to his starting line-up.

“It’s going to be a similar side to Saturday and that’s all I’m going to say on that,” he confirmed.

Cheltenham won 2-1 against Grimsby Town on the opening day at the weekend but match-winner Barry Hayles may not figure this evening due to jury service.

Left midfielder Oliver Bozanic, who is on loan from Reading, is definitely out as he is away on international duty with Australia.

Southend (from): Mildenhall, Francis, Heath, Barrett, White, Grant, Christophe, McCormack, Moussa, Barnard, Walker, Freedman, Revell, Betsy, Herd, Joyce, M’Voto and Sankofa.

Cheltenham (from): Brown; Bird, Townsend, Duff, Ridley; Watkins, Pook, Gallinagh, Hutton; Hammond, Richards, Diallo, Richardson, Haynes, Watkins, Tabor and Alsop.