Southend United v Crewe Alexandra latest odds, news and free bets

Southend United looked certain to claim automatic promotion from League Two earlier in the season, although Swindon Town’s amazing campaign coupled with a late resurgence from Crawley means that the Shrimpers now have the lottery of the play-offs to contend with

Last week’s 1-0 defeat at Crewe means that the Essex team have an uphill struggle if they are to make it to Wembley later this month, although United can be backed at 10/11 (Blue Square free bets) to get the win they need on Wednesday night.

Paul Sturrock’s team have been reasonably strong at Roots Hall this season, winning 12 of their 23 games and losing just 5. They were unbeaten in five before that reverse at Gresty Road, while Southend have won their last four at home.

Neil Harris will once again lead the line and the former Millwall forward is a 2/1 chance (Paddy Power free bets) to score at any stage of the game, while Freddie Eastwood could be promoted from the sub’s bench.

After all, the home side need to score goals, while Crewe will go through to the final with a draw or better and the Railwaymen are now the 4/6 favourites (Betfred bookmaker) to claim the first Wembley spot.

Alex were thankful to Adam Dugdale for that first leg victory and the same player is 40/1 (bet365) to break the deadlock in this match, while the visitors can be backed at 7/2 (Bet Victor) to win at Roots Hall.

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