As much as I wish to remain positive, a trip to Roots Hall is never an easy one. Anyone that’s ever been will know it’s not the greatest of stadiums, nor does it draw the biggest crowds, but it’s a tough place to play, which is why Leeds United have never beaten Southend there.

We met Southend for the first time at Roots Hall in March 2007. We managed a 1-1 draw that day thanks to a late equaliser from David Healy. He remains the only Leeds United player to have scored at Southend. Since then we’ve lost the two fixtures away to them, both by a 1-0 scoreline.

At Elland Road it’s an entirely different story. We’ve beaten them three times on home soil by 2-0 twice and 4-1 in the 2007/08 season. The 4-1 result is memorable for the late flurry from Leeds. The scores were 1-1 with just minutes remaining, but Leeds found another gear and fired three by Southend in the last five minutes to send the visitors home empty handed.

So far this season Southend have managed just seven points, drawing four of their opening fixtures and winning just one. They’ve lost just one fixture so far away to Swindon, but did have a player sent off in the first half and played much of the fixture with 10 men. Swindon still struggled to kill them off and the final score was a respectable 2-1.

There is some good news though. Leeds will welcome back Jermaine Beckford for the fixture who is looking sharp and extremely hungry so far this season. If anyone can snatch a goal in this fixture, the good money has to be on him.

One recognisable face to Leeds United fans will be that of Dougie Freedman who played eleven times for us on loan from Crystal Palace, scoring five in 2008.

The Essex-based club are managed by Steve Tilson who joined as a player in 2002 before taking over as manager the following season. He doesn’t have the biggest of squads to work with, but organises them well and I’d expect a tough, scrappy game with few goals. For me, this is the biggest test so far for Leeds. I think we can win here, but in all honesty would be happy with a draw. Let’s hope Grayson has an ace up his sleeve and can keep that 100% record intact.

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