It seems a long time since the last match preview and that's because it is - a fortnight to be precise since the Glovers last played and somehow contrived to gift Bradford City all 3 points in a match that Yeovil totally dominated in all but one aspect - scoring goals. Since then various players have come and gone and the squad has been away for a mid-season break, hopefully coming back to training this week refreshed and raring to go.
League leaders Southend United provide the opposition tomorrow, a team we've become used to playing over the last 2-3 years and generally with a fair bit of success too, the Glovers winning 4 out of 5 games played between the sides since we've come into the Football League. The Shrimpers have enjoyed an excellent season up til now as their position in the league indicates and with 25 points from 15 away games played have the best record away from home in the division. Added to that they are unbeaten in 11 league games, so it's evident that Yeovil have a job on tomorrow.
Southend will be without Wayne Gray on Saturday, the striker is out for 3 weeks with a hamstring strain. Former Oxford striker Lee Bradbury, a transfer window capture, is liable to replace him. Shaun Goater completed 90 minutes for the Shrimpers reserves in midweek so is also available, but Freddy Eastwood is expected to keep his place up front. Midfielder Carl Pettefer has returned to training after a shoulder injury but is not yet match fit. Defender Efe Sodje returns to Huish Park for the first time since his surprise and sudden move to Roots Hall at the beginning of January.
"It's always a difficult game at Yeovil because for some reason we seem to struggle down there," Southend boss Steve Tilson admitted to his club's official site today, adding: "But we'd previously not done as well as we could at home against them up to when we beat them 4-1 this season. Hopefully that is a good omen for us to go to Yeovil and get three points on Saturday. The second half against Yeovil earlier this season we played really well, probably our best 45 minutes this season, so they probably feel they owe us one but we just have to make sure we don't lose."
As for the Glovers, club captain Terry Skiverton is definitely out while he recovers from his double hernia operation and fellow central defender Scott Guyett will also miss the match after picking up a mystery viral illness, Adam Lockwood is set to replace him: "Scott is out for Saturday's match," Glovers boss Steve Thompson told the Western Daily Press. "He was ill all of last week. He is a little bit better this week but is still feeling very poorly. We have had all the tests done and the results are a bit inconclusive, but he's certainly not well enough to play. Adam Lockwood is likely to start and it helps that he went to Torquay for two months and is match-fit. Adam has always been a very good player for the club and I'm sure he'll do well for us."
New signings Anthony Barry, given the vacant no.8 shirt, and Jamie Vincent, no.6, are likely to start on the bench. "It's going to be a very important match with Southend sitting on top of the table," said Thommo. "We are going to have to be at our best as Southend are not only top of the table, but also in a rich vein of form at present. We shall be welcoming back our old friend Efe Sodje who made such an impact at Huish Park when he joined us last year. Our pitch will be hard but as things go it is looking superb at the present, especially in comparison to some Premiership grounds."
Selected betting odds: Yeovil win - 7/5; draw - 9/4; Southend win - 13/8. Our recommendation: We can't get very excited about the odds on offer for the win/lose/draw, therefore we're going to split our usual fiver bet tomorrow. Adam Lockwood has been scoring for fun whilst on loan at Torquay (well, he's got a couple) and is reasonable value at 9/1 to score at anytime. Phil Jevons has never failed to score against the Shrimpers since he's been at Yeovil and he could be worth a punt at 5/1 to be first scorer or 11/8 to score at anytime. For those that like to forecast the correct score a Glovers win of 2-1 is available at 17/2 and if you're really feeling optimistic a 4-1 Yeovil win will pay out at 66/1. We're going for £2.50 on Locky to score at anytime and £2.50 on a 2-1 Yeovil win! Record so far this season: +£15.80p.
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