Who will get the bragging rights

COLCHESTER United boss Aidy Boothroyd has called upon his players to show calm in this afternoon's Essex derby at Southend.The U's lost the last meeting between the sides 1-0 back in February this year following a fructuous encounter at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.

Stuart Watson

COLCHESTER United boss Aidy Boothroyd has called upon his players to show calm in this afternoon's Essex derby at Southend.

The U's lost the last meeting between the sides 1-0 back in February this year following a fructuous encounter at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.

It meant the Shrimpers claimed the bragging rights over their fierce rivals following their last gasp equaliser in a rollercoaster 3-3 draw at Roots Hall earlier in the season.

Boothroyd admits he is desperate to put those results right for the loyal U's supporters in today's encounter. However the 38-year-old - who has played in derby games for Bristol Rovers, Huddersfield and Hearts - says the best way to do that is with a level-headed approach.

“Everybody wants the bragging rights in a local derby,” said Boothroyd, who has also managed Watford in derby clashes with Luton Town.

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“I've played in Bristol, Yorkshire and Edinburgh derbies so I know how important they are. I'm aware of Colchester's record against Southend recently and I'm hoping to turn around that record and send our fans home with a smile on their faces.

“We must remember though that is another three points we are fighting for and a bit of calmness is required in games like this.

“A lot of the time it's fist-on-fist, not literally obviously, but often it's the team that shows the emotional calm and intelligence to continue with the job that gets a positive result.”

Following Colchester's Friday night win at Brighton just over two weeks ago, Boothroyd took the chance to watch Southend's home game against Hartlepool the following day. Steve Tilson's side came from 2-0 down to win 3-2 that day - a result which left Boothroyd leaving Roots Hall very impressed with the 13th placed side.

“I've watched them a number of times this season and, despite their off pitch difficulties, we know they can beat anybody on their day. To come from behind in that game the way they did just shows what resilience they have.

“I know Steve Tilson having competed against him before. I know his team will be organised, motivated, and quite big too. I wouldn't be doing my job properly if we didn't respect what Southend could do to us.”

Boothroyd - long absentees aside - has virtually a fully fit squad to select from today after the return to fitness of midfielder David Fox following a rib injury. Striker Kayode Odejayi saw his three-month loan spell at the U's expire in the week and he has returned to Barnsley, but Boothroyd is hopeful of sorting out a new deal for the Nigerian when the transfer window opens again in the New Year.

Southend - who have lost six of their last eight games - have extended their loan deal for Wolves left-back Scott Malone ahead of today's game, but have sent striker Jabo Ibehre back to Mk Dons following his red card against Exeter last week.

Squads

Southend: Mildenhall, Joyce, Francis, Malone, Morrison, Barrett, Sankofa, Laurent, Moussa, McCormack, Grant, Francois-Christophe, Scannell, O'Keefe, Calver, Barnard, Freedman, Walker.

Colchester: Williams, Cousins, White, Tierney, Okuonghae, Reid, Batth, Ifil, Wordsworth, O'Toole, Izzet, Fox, Hackney, Elito, Platt, Lisbie, Gillespie, Thomas.

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