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Barnet v Southend United - Preview
Barnet welcome Southend United to Underhill this evening and Bees head coach Edgar Davids admits his side must continue to keep pace with the teams around them in the League Two table.
Barnet secured a point at the weekend after they were held to a goalless draw at home to Rochdale.
However, with Aldershot Town and AFC Wimbledon both claiming victories on Saturday, the Bees have slipped to 22nd in League Two and are just a point above the relegation zone.
“It keeps you on your toes and like I’ve said before, every game remains a final for us,” Davids said when asked about the relegation battle. “It is a good lesson for the lads. There is never a day where you can sit back and relax.
“Every game you need to give 100 per cent. Every game you need to be focused. Every game you need to get the points in. That is the reality for us.
“Of course it is frustrating that the teams around you pick up points but it is also healthy pressure for us to keep up to the same pace. It is difficult but not impossible.”
Southend’s play-off hopes have stuttered in recent weeks and the Shrimpers have won just one of their last four league matches – although that victory came at the weekend.
Paul Sturrock’s side progressed to the final of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy last week, an accomplishment Davids congratulated.
He said: “I was delighted they reached the final and congratulations to them. However, the game is one that we need to win and pick up points. Everyone else keeps winning so we need to match that pace.”
The Bees will be without Ricky Holmes and Steve Kabba due to long term injuries while John Oster is also out with a hamstring injury.
Craig Beattie limped off against Rochdale at the weekend and is a doubt as is Curtis Weston who was substituted midway through the second half against the Dale.
Jon Nurse is also unlikely to feature after suffering a concussion against York City but Sam Cowler could return to the squad after returning to training on Sunday.
Southend have their own injury issues and Chris Barker, Ryan Leonard and Ben Reeves are doubts for the contest.
Definitely out for the Shrimpers are Gavin Tomlin (thigh), Mark Phillips (broken toe), Marc Laird (hamstring), Caolan Lavery (hamstring), Michael Timlin (broken leg) and Bilel Mohsni (suspension).
When the two sides met earlier in the season the Bees were held to a 2-2 draw despite taking a 2-0 lead.
It was a game Graham Stack acknowledges Barnet should have won and he is expecting a stern test this evening.
He said: “It will be a very tough game. When we played at Roots Hall this season we drew and should have won.
“It is another home game so the onus is certainly on us again. We must start winning here and must make it hard for teams.
“Performance wise we don’t have a great deal of complaints but we need to create more at home and see teams off.”