PAT Baldwin believes there will be pressure on both teams when Colchester United host Essex rivals Southend United tonight.

Both sides will be going into the Papa John’s Trophy group game on the back of a disappointing FA Cup exit, at the hands of non-league opposition.

The Group A match at the JobServe Community Stadium is effectively a dead rubber, with neither team now able to qualify for the knockout stages of the competition.

But Baldwin, who shone for Colchester and Southend during a successful playing career, says both of his former clubs will still have plenty to play for when they lock swords tonight (kick-off 7pm).

Baldwin said: “It’s an important game for both teams, especially after what happened at the weekend.

“Colchester will be disappointed with their FA Cup defeat and will be wanting to get a result.

“But Southend are under a lot of pressure because they’ve not won many games this season and the manager (Mark Molesley) is going to be under massive pressure because they’re struggling.

“He won’t be taking it lightly; he’ll be looking at it as a game they want to win.

“You’ve also got the added rivalry as well, so as a player they should be going into every game up for it but especially a derby match like that.

“Regardless of the situation or context, you want to be going into it to win it.

“It’ll be quite an interesting game with a lot of pressure from everywhere you look.

“No matter why each individual player is playing they need to get a result and impress, whether they’re coming in from the fringes with an opportunity to play or trying to stay in the team.”

Baldwin played in his fair share of derbies during his time at Colchester and was part of the U’s side that beat Ipswich Town at Layer Road, in 2006.

“Derbies are a bit different at the moment, because you haven’t got the fans,” said U’s promotion winner Baldwin, who made nearly 250 appearances for Colchester during his near decade-long stint with the club.

“When I was playing, we were lucky that we didn’t have this crazy pandemic and the atmosphere fed off that and that’s what made those games special.

“I thrived on that as a player but nowadays, you have to get up for the game yourself, which I can imagine is really difficult.

“But it’s a derby game and you know that the fans will be watching the result and the game on the live stream, so you have to see it as a derby and go into it as that.

“People say you should approach every game the same and that’s absolutely right but I don’t care what you say, there’s always an added spice with a derby game.

“I certainly went into derby matches with a bit of an extra spring in my step.”

Baldwin is keen to see his former team-mate Molesley turn things around at Southend, who are currently rooted to the bottom of League Two

The pair played together at both Exeter City and Weymouth and former defender Baldwin hopes his ex-colleague turns things around, at Roots Hall.

“It’s a big opportunity for Mark,” added Baldwin, who played for Southend between 2010 and 2012.

“I played with Mark at Weymouth and Exeter, so I know him really well.

“He’s a good honest pro and he doesn’t deserve to have to deal with what he’s dealing with, in what is his big break.

“Hopefully things can turn around, because he deserves better.

“He’s a very good coach, a very good manager and a great guy that deserves the chance.

“I hope he can turn it around at Southend and hopefully he’ll get that time from Mr Martin to do that.

“He will certainly learn from this and in his managerial career, he’s not going to come across the kind of hardships he is now.”