SOUTHEND Saxons’ director of rugby Martin Jones believes his side must overcome a shortage of confidence to kick-start their stuttering season.

Southend have kicked off the new London & SE Premier Division campaign with four successive defeats.

And Jones, whose team host Barnes this weekend, can tell the run of bad results is affecting his players.

“We’re low in confidence at the moment and it’s difficult to get that back,” said Jones.

“But we’re focusing on the positives and we’re rewarding effort and good decision making so we’re choosing to look at that as we look to get better results.”

Southend’s poor start has seen them slump to the bottom of the table and they have yet to pick up a point this season.

But Jones was encouraged by the way Saxons started against Shelford last weekend before they were eventually beaten 60-10.

“We were actually very good for the 15 minutes,” said Jones. “There was lots of direct running but you have to give Shelford credit for the way they tackled.

“But we then had a kick cleared charged down while trying to clear and that saw them score their first try.

“We then quickly conceded a couple more which is becoming something of a habit and before you know it we’re 21-0 down.

“That then become 39-0 at half-time when the players more or less did their own team talk.

“We then lost the second half 21-10 and got a couple of tries but we’re focusing on the next game now.”

Southend’s next clash comes at home to Barnes, who have started the season with three wins from their first four games.

And Jones is expecting another testing contest this weekend.

“Barnes have started well but they are one of those teams who go up and down,” said Jones. “They get promotion, stay there for a year and then come back down.

“It’s difficult to gauge where they’re at but we’re back at home and we need to make that advantage count.”

Southend will be without Justin Allen this weekend but his ankle injury is not as serious as first feared.

Allen is expected to be back in action in the next few weeks, with his place in the second row taken by Nigel Archer.