League Two Preview: Brown future in doubt at Southend

Southend United head into Saturday's trip to Luton Town in high spirits but with lingering doubts over manager Phil Brown's future.

Brown was named League Two's Manager of the Month for September after guiding the Essex club to four wins and a draw from their five fixtures in the league.

That form has reportedly attracted attention from Bolton Wanderers, who are on the search for a new boss since Dougie Freedman left his post last week.

Brown spent six years at Bolton as a player and also served as assistant to Colin Todd and Sam Allardyce at the club.

Despite Brown's numerous links to the Macron Stadium, his current assistant at Southend, Dave Penney, remains unconcerned.

"He's not spoken to us about it. We're fully focused on Saturday," Penney told BBC Look East.

"Obviously he has the connection with Bolton and naturally if a manager is near the top of any league and has a history with a club all these things get put together and two and two become five."

In a weekly column for a local newspaper, Brown insisted he had received no contact from Bolton and was solely focused on returning Southend to top form following last week's defeat to Morecambe at Roots Hall.

Luton will pose a stiff test, having finally found their feet in the fourth tier and racked up an unbeaten run of five matches - including four wins.

Above Southend in the three automatic promotion spots sit Bury, Wycombe Wanderers and Burton Albion, who are each on the road to AFC Wimbledon, Morecambe and Northampton Town on Saturday.

Rock-bottom Hartlepool will once again be led by Sam Collins and Stephen Pears against Exeter City after Colin Cooper's resignation last week - though the Teessiders can take heart from a spirited performance in their midweek Football League Trophy defeat to Sheffield United.

Carlisle United have jumped off the bottom after consecutive wins under Keith Curle and host Stevenage as they look for a third triumph, while Tranmere Rovers will be wary of slipping below the Cumbrians as they welcome Plymouth Argyle to Prenton Park.

Oxford United and York City are also languishing in the table's lower reaches ahead of trips to Cambridge United and Newport County.

Elsewhere Accrington Stanley host Dagenham and Redbridge, Portsmouth welcome Mansfield Town to Fratton Park and Shrewsbury Town will seek a first win in four when Cheltenham Town visit.