SOUTHEND United’s caretaker manager Gary Waddock is bracing himself for another tough test tomorrow - despite AFC Wimbledon’s lowly League placing.

The Dons sit just above the Shrimpers in the standings.

But Waddock feels Wimbledon will be heading to Roots Hall on a high.

“Wimbledon have had an upturn in their results and they have won their last two games so they’re coming here in good spirits and we have to be ready to deal with that,” said the former Wycombe Wanderers chief.

“But it’s more about how we approach the game and how we go into the game.

“That’s what we’re focusing on and we have to make sure it’s a good result.

The Shrimpers were seen off 3-1 by Gillingham last weekend and have now been beaten in their last three games.

However, Waddock feels it has been a good week of preparation for the squad.

“The players have trained hard and well this week,” said Waddock.

“There was a game on Tuesday for the lads who needed minutes so it’s been a good week but obviously you’re ultimately judged on what happens on a matchday so we have to make sure we’re on it.”

Blues have yet to win at home so far this season and head into the game this weekend having been beaten nine times in 11 League outings this term.

That wretched run has seen the Shrimpers slump to 22nd in the League One standings with just four points.

Wimbledon sit immediately above them with six points from 12 games.

And Waddock admits there is no denying how important Saturday’s game could prove to be.

“It’s an important game because there are three points at stake against a club who are close to us in the League table,” said Waddock.

“It’s still early in the season and there are still plenty of points to play for but we want the win, especially at home in front of the fans.”

But Waddock knows Blues must be at their best to triumph.

“The players need to have desire, character and determination,” said Waddock.

“All of those need to be shown to get a result because Wimbledon have had an upturn.

“We have to make sure we’re focused and ready to go and I’m sure we will be.”

However, Waddock could be forced into making more changes than expected.

“We have some injuries,” said the 57-year-old.

“I won’t say who they are but we will give them as much time as we can before we can finalise the team which is going to go out there and look to win the game.”

Winger Sam Barratt will definitely miss out with a long-term knee injury.

But he is again closing in on a comeback having suffered a setback.

“Sam had a setback but he’s back out on the grass,” said Waddock.

“He’s getting closer but he’s not close.”

Barratt has been out of action since August 2018 with a cruciate ligament injury.