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Southend United's struggles continue, but they remain in top seven
HEAVEN only knows how Southend United currently find themselves among the play-off positions.
The Shrimpers have not won in 10 games and have taken just five points from the last 27 on offer.
Yet they still somehow find themselves sitting seventh in the League Two table.
Not even a trip to a struggling Morecambe side could bring any sunshine for Southend, despite their hosts having not won a single game since Boxing Day.
The Shrimps saw off the Shrimpers 2-1 but there were encouraging signs for the Essex outfit early on.
Kevan Hurst looked lively switching between the two flanks and Ryan Leonard celebrated signing a new contract by heading the visitors in front.
But some hesitant goalkeeping from Daniel Bentley enabled Morecambe to equalise and Blues seemed to crumble from that point on.
Whether a lack of confidence caused by recent results was to blame or even a familiar feeling of frustration, the reaction from the Shrimpers was simply just not good enough.
Morecambe, who in truth looked fairly ordinary themselves, looked far more threatening in the second half and definitely deserved their victory.
Blues now need to find a way to get themselves back on track to stop the rot and to keep themselves in the promotion picture.
On current form, it surely will not be long before they fall out of the top seven and it is time for manager Phil Brown to try something a little different.
The run of bad results and the fact Blues have not won since seeing off Chesterfield in mid January shows that changes do need to be made.
Midfielder Marc Laird started the season in fine form before picking up an injury and he has now started just one of Southend’s last 17 games.
Similarly, Jack Payne has often impressed when coming off the bench this season and he could also provide a spark which is clearly lacking for the Shrimpers at this stage if he was given more of an opportunity.
Further forward, perhaps Freddy Eastwood could only be considered or at least given more minutes on the pitch.
The striker, without wanting to sound too harsh, is nowhere near the player he once was, but he did score in four successive games at the start of the campaign and at least deserves a chance to show whether or not he still has what it takes to succeed at this level.
Eastwood has been on the bench for the last 19 games and has not even got on to the pitch in three of Southend’s last four outings.
Ultimately, the experienced front-man may well prove not to be the answer and neither might Laird or Payne, but something different just needs to be tried in an effort to turn things around before it is too late.
Blues do also need strengthening in the final third and desperately need to bring in a forward player with pace who is capable of causing opposing defenders problems by getting in behind them.
That should certainly be on Brown’s wanted list at this stage and he will also be hoping that Luke Prosser will soon be back in action.
The defender is currently sidelined with a calf problem and the Shrimpers have not won any of their eight games since he was forced out of action.
Without him, Blues seem to lack a physical edge at the back and have started to concede some soft goals.
Boss Brown has hinted that he could therefore look to bring in Jakub Sokolik from Liverpool to help shore things at the back.
But, either through new signings or by bringing in those currently not in the side, changes definitely to be made.
For Saturday’s dismal defeat at Morecambe again showed that the current starting line-up needs to be freshened up if the Shrimpers are to stand any chance of clinging on to a place in the play-offs