TOWN manager Peter Jackson is backing Andy Booth to create history against Southend at the McAlpine tomorrow (3.00).

The 30-year-old frontman goes into the Easter double header just two goals short of a century in Town colours.

Booth bagged his 98th for the club - and 12th of the season - to earn last Saturday's 1-1 draw at Leyton Orient, before being sent-off for only the second time in his career.

The fans' favourite will be suspended when Town are next at home, against Scunthorpe a week tomorrow, so Jackson is hoping he can reach the landmark against improving Southend or, if not, in Monday's trip to Kidderminster.

"Boothy has been fantastic for me this season and if he could get to the 100th goal here at the McAlpine, in front of his own people, that would be wonderful," said Jackson today.

"All the headlines earlier in the season were reserved for Jonathan Stead, but he would be the first to acknowledge the role played by Boothy and the contribution he made.

"I am convinced Boothy has rediscovered his desire and passion to play the game this season and he has been a big player for us.

"His effort has been second to none and, for all those critics who said he would never train and wouldn't last a dozen games, he has proved them all wrong.

"I'm delighted for him, and if he scores a couple of goals tomorrow to help us towards a vital victory, I'm sure the fans will raise the roof."

Booth is included in an unchanged side and is bidding to become only the fifth player in Town history - following George Brown, Jimmy Glazzard, Billy Smith and Les Massie - to reach 100 goals for the Leeds Road club.

Southend have a prime goalscorer themselves, however, in Leon Constantine and Jackson insists Town cannot afford to take anything for granted.

"Constantine is in form with 22 goals this season and Southend are an improving side under Steve Tilson," said Jackson.

"We had them watched against Scunthorpe and they can be a handful, so it's up to our defence to replicate the form they have been showing and to try and keep a clean sheet.

"I have said all along that we have to win our remaining three home games to put ourselves in with a really good chance of promotion, so this is the first one and a very important one."

Town have already sold more than 1,300 tickets for Monday's first ever trip to Kidderminster's Aggborough ground, and Jackson hopes there will be a big turnout at the McAlpine tomorrow.

"The fans have a massive role to play once again in creating a good, positive atmosphere for the lads," he said.

"We will be going all out for a win from the off and, even if we have to be patient for a breakthrough, we need our fans right behind the lads from the first whistle.

"This is a huge weekend for this football club with two crucial matches in three days, and we need to make the best possible start tomorrow."

Jackson is without striker Iffy Onuora (knee) from last week's travelling party and has put all his senior players on standby.

Southend are without captain Kevin Maher, who starts a two-match ban, so Lewis Hunt (on loan from Derby) will play in central midfield.

Referee Eddie Ilderton is making a third appearance at the McAlpine and Town won on both his previous visits, against Plymouth last season and Derby (Carling Cup) this term.

Town - Rachubka, Holdsworth, Lloyd, Mirfin, Yates, Sodje, Worthington, Schofield, Carss, Booth, Abbott.

Southend - Flahavan, Jupp, Cort, Warren, Nicolau, Gower, Bentley, Hunt, Pettefer, Constantine, Broughton. Subs: Emberson, Jenkins, Stuart, Wilson, Bramble.