Southend – could Igor make the difference?

After Charlton's lacklustre display against Fleetwood last week few supporters will be travelling to Southend this Saturday with much optimism. Lee Bowyer's team have played nearly four hours since their last goal and, apart from George Lapslie's late header, they rarely looked like breaching the Fleetwood defence.

The team put on a poor performance at Roots Hall last season - succumbing to a 3-1 Boxing Day defeat, but that was the first time we had lost to Southend in nine encounters and the first at their place in five games going back to 1995.

The Shrimpers have had a mixed start to the season. They were 0-3 down at home to Doncaster in their first game before eventually going down 2-3. They got a draw at Plymouth and beat Bradford City 2-0 before losing 0-2 at Luton and winning 1-0 at Bristol Rovers. The game at Plymouth was memorable for manager Chris Powell grabbing his opposite number Derek Adams by the throat after Adams spoke abusively to one of the Southend players. Powell served a one match touchline ban for that but will be back in his technical area on Saturday.

We are unlikely to see Harry Lennon in action. After scoring on his Roots Hall debut in a friendly against Leeds he fractured a toe in the Doncaster game and has not appeared since. However, another former Charlton centre half - Michael Turner - has been ever present so far and will be a danger at set plays.

Up front Southend seem to have plenty of strike power. Tom Hopper (secured from Scunthorpe this summer) has already scored three. Simon Cox is still there (two goals last Boxing Day) and Harry Bunn has just joined on a season-long loan from Bury. Michael Kightly (who was released by Southend but who rose to fame after his transfer from Grays Athletic to Wolves) provides back up.

Charlton should be strengthened by the return of Jason Pearce to the starting line-up but they will need to be slicker in midfield and sharper in the box if they are to come away with a win. The signing of Josh Cullen on loan from West Ham will hopefully make a difference. It was good to see Igor Vetokele back on the pitch last week and all Charlton fans would love to see him regain his 2014 form as, without the addition of a cutting edge from somewhere, we could be looking at a very uninspiring season ahead.