Football - Laird boost for Shrimpers

Southend welcome back Marc Laird for the trip to Exeter.

PA Sport

The midfielder was cup-tied for the Johnstone's Paint Trophy semi-final in midweek but is expected to return to the side as Paul Sturrock's side look to bounce back from consecutive league defeats.

Goalkeeper Paul Smith is expected to continue despite storming off down the tunnel after being replaced by Dan Bentley in stoppage time on Tuesday night.

Sturrock brought on the young `keeper ahead of the penalty shoot-out, after he had saved three spot-kicks in the FA Cup second round replay win over Bury, and he was again the hero as he stopped Alfie Potter's effort in the victory over Oxford.

On-loan striker Britt Assombalonga is a doubt once more as he continues to struggle with ankle and shin problems. He will be assessed ahead of the game, with a place on the bench likely if he is passed fit.

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