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Southend's promotion hopes at Wembley

Southend United kick off at Wembley on Saturday evening with all eyes on promotion to League One. They face Wycombe Wanders who so nearly were relegated form the Football League 12 months ago.

Both teams finished the season on equal points so the players are expecting a tough match.

Southend boss Phil Brown guided Hull to the Premier League via the play-offs in 2008 so is no stranger to big games at Wembley.

Brown, who next weekend will turn 56, is keen to play that down though and instead concentrate on the job in hand.

The stakes are high and may the best team win.

We enjoyed some great scenes after the game against Stevenage the other night but I didn't celebrate because the job is only half done.

There is still one more very tough game for us to come against a very good Wycombe side and I'll only start to celebrate if we win that one. Saturday's game, nothing else, is the focus.

– Phil Brown, Southend United Manager


  1. National

Travellers warned of 'standstill' on rail network because of strike

Rail passengers are being warned that services will be at a "standstill" the morning after the Bank Holiday because of a strike by Network Rail workers.

Engineering works are also scheduled for when the strike is on Credit: PA Wire

The action by members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union, who will walk out from 5pm on 25 May and ban overtime for 48 hours, will be exacerbated by engineering work being conducted by Network Rail at the same time.

The union said services will be hit from the Monday but warned that the biggest impact will be on the Tuesday.

"Services will be at a standstill," said one official.

Thousands of football fans of the clubs involved in the League I and Championship play-off finals at Wembley will be particularly hit by the disruption.

Families of poorly children get new place to stay

Former Southampton FC footballer Francis Benali has opened a new accommodation facility for families of children in hospital.

The new Ronald McDonald House Southampton is a "home away from home" for families who need to stay near their children while they are being treated at Southampton Children's Hospital and nearby Princess Anne Hospital.

Francis Benali has lent his support to Southampton facility for families Credit: PA Images

Benali was joined by Fiona Dalton, chief executive of University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, and Dr Simon Fradd, trustee of Ronald McDonald House Charities, for a ceremony to mark the opening of the house, which has 53 en-suite bedrooms as well as communal kitchens, lounges and playrooms.

The full-back said: "It's an honour and a privilege to be here to open such an incredible facility. I want to do alI I can to encourage people to support the house and spread the word about how much it helps families in their time of need."

During the opening ceremony, guests heard from Sandra Brown, a mother from Jersey, who is among the first to stay at the Ronald McDonald House while her son Jack, 15, is being treated for bleeding on the brain.

She said: "The Ronald McDonald House has brought normality back into our life. It's been a godsend. I have been able to stay near Jack while he is being treated in hospital and not worry about the expense of travel to and from Jersey or paying for accommodation. It will always have a special place in my heart".

There are 14 Ronald McDonald Houses in the UK that in 2014 provided a place to more than 6,000 families who had children in hospital.

The Royal Windsor Horse Show beings

'Windsor Wednesday' has marked the opening day of the international horse show that is attended by the Queen every year.

The colourful event where riders compete in events such as show jumping, dressage and carriage driving has been taking place since 1943.

The Royal Windsor Horse Show is the only time of the year that the private grounds of the castle are open to the public. Penny Silvester reports.

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