Southend manager Paul Sturrock has hinted that Bilel Mohsni could be handed his debut against Port Vale.
Mohsni and fellow new signing Adam Bouzid completed their moves to Roots Hall this week after the club gained international clearance for the pair. And after coming through 90 minutes for the Blues` reserves on Wednesday night, Sturrock reckons the impressive Mohsni is ready to make his debut.
"Mohsni has already had a test for us in the pre-season friendlies and came through them with flying colours," said boss Sturrock.
"He was outstanding for the reserves on Wednesday night and he is in my thoughts for Saturday."
Midfielder Bouzid could also be in the frame to make his bow, but may be on the bench as he is lacking match fitness.
Sturrock's only injury concern is defender Peter Gilbert, who looks set to sit out once again with an ankle injury sustained during pre-season.
Port Vale assistant manager Geoff Horsfield is confident striker Marc Richards and midfielder Doug Loft will shake off injury knocks ahead of the game.
Richards opened the scoring against Chesterfield in last weekend's 1-1 draw but left the action in the second half with knee and ankle injuries.
Vale missed a host of chances to make the game safe before Loft also exited proceedings with bruised ribs.
"Marc is looking okay but we don't know if he'll definitely be fit for Saturday," Horsfield told the Sentinel.
"Him and Doug both had a couple of days off training this week but they're fit lads."
Boss Micky Adams must decide whether to stick with a 4-4-2 formation or revert to the 3-5-2 system which impressively overcame QPR in the Carling Cup.
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