Striker believes tricky games can lift Southend

Michael Bailey Hotshot Matt Paterson is hoping two tough fixtures can help give the struggling Shrimpers a timely League One confidence boost. Southend have mounting financial problems off the pitch, while their form is little better on it with a run of one win in 10 matches seeing United slip to just one point off the League One relegation zone.

Michael Bailey

Hotshot Matt Paterson is hoping two tough fixtures can help give the struggling Shrimpers a timely League One confidence boost.

Southend have mounting financial problems off the pitch, while their form is little better on it with a run of one win in 10 matches seeing United slip to just one point off the League One relegation zone.

However, with games against leaders Norwich and at home to their automatic promotion chasing rivals Charlton at the weekend, Paterson believes the tough double-header could work in the Shrimpers' favour.


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"These are matches that you want to be involved in and if we can get something from them it would be a huge boost to our confidence for the remainder of the season," said the 20-year-old. "That is what we want to happen and hopefully it can because it would be a big and important thing for us."

The situation behind the scenes at Roots Hall is not pretty, with reports yesterday stating the club is yet to pay its players' wages for January - something the club dismissed two weeks ago, while United have been issued with a winding-up petition by HM Revenue and Customs over an unpaid debt of �200,000.

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They managed, however, to delay being wound up after their case was adjourned for 28 days in London's High Court.

United's woes have been reflected by a winless 2010 that continued with a 3-1 defeat at MK Dons on Saturday, with Paterson scoring his first goal for the club - albeit a last minute consolation.

"It was good to score and get my first goal for Southend," he said. "It was a shame that it came so late and that it couldn't help us get something from the game but hopefully now I can build on this and start to get a few more. It's certainly helped my own confidence and of course I would love to start the next game but that's the manager's decision and he knows best what to do."

Manager Steve Tilson is likely to be forced into at least one change for tonight's trip to Carrow Road.

Left-winger Sanchez Watt, on loan from Premier League Arsenal, suffered a head injury in the defeat at Stamium:MK and is rated doubtful. Franck Moussa is expected to come in.

Tilson is definitely without midfielder Anthony Grant, who has an ankle injury that is going to keep him out for two months, while youngster Stuart O'Keefe is set for a six-week spell on the sidelines after undergoing surgery for a hernia.

It means Tilson may be tempted to hand Paterson his full debut, following his move from Southampton last month - a transfer that saw Lee Barnard - the thorn in City's side on Saturday - move in the other direction. On loan Pat Baldwin - who came on as a substitute for Colchester in their 5-0 home defeat by Norwich, is likely to start at the centre of defence, alongside Jean-Yves Mvoto.

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