THREE was again the magic number for Southend United manager Chris Powell on Saturday as his Shrimpers side secured a shock win against table-topping Wigan Athletic at Roots Hall.

The former left-back wore the number with distinction during his illustrious playing career.

And three more points courtesy of three more goals means Powell is now also hitting new highs for a Blues boss by becoming the club’s first permanent manager to win their first three games in charge.

Powell modestly played down his part in the recent rejuvenation after the final whistle and also brushed aside his record breaking start to focus solely on the superb 3-1 win against the Latics.

However, Powell’s early achievements in his new role certainly deserve to be highlighted.

Upon his arrival at the Shrimpers three weeks ago, Powell inherited a side short of spirit and confidence who sat precariously close to the relegation zone after enduring a horrific run of results.

Blues had been beaten in eight of their last nine games and had triumphed just three times in 13 League outings during a wretched sequence of scorelines stretching back to October.

Yet, following Powell’s appointment, the same set of players have secured three victories in the space of just 18 days.

The Shrimpers saw off fourth placed Scunthorpe United in Powell’s first game in charge before securing their first away success since October in his second as an early Jason Demetriou penalty handed Blues a narrow victory against a Peterborough United side sitting just below the play-off places.

However, Saturday’s success was the most impressive of the lot as the Shrimpers deservedly saw off the League One leaders who arrived at Roots Hall having not been beaten in their last 16 outings.

Furthermore, Wigan had not suffered a defeat in the League since losing to Bradford City in mid-November and boast the best attacking and defensive records in the division.

In fact, prior to the weekend Wigan had kept eight clean sheets in their last nine League games and had conceded just two goals in their previous 11 outings.

But the Latics never looked like being able to contain a lively Shrimpers side who have been reinvigorated by Powell.

The 48-year-old’s encouragement, positivity, organisation and support have been welcomed by the Southend squad, who shone all over the pitch on Saturday.

Michael Turner led the way with a determined defensive display, while Michael Kightly and Stephen McLaughlin again impressed out wide.

Michael Timlin was back to his aggressive best in the centre of the park while, alongside him, 17-year-old Dru Yearwood caught the eye with another energetic and mature performance.

Further forward, Simon Cox played a part in all three of Blues’ goals while Marc-Antoine Fortune made a welcome return to the scoresheet against his former side.

Fortune’s flicks and hold up play often enable those around him to impress but at the weekend it was the Frenchman taking the limelight as he netted his second goal of the season and his first since scoring against Peterborough United in October.

Adding to the plus points was an improved display from Anton Ferdinand and a short cameo from substitute striker Shayon Harrison on his Shrimpers debut.

The new found togetherness again shone through both in the goal celebrations and the way in which Blues continually battled both with and without the ball.

Such a scenario seemed a million miles away just a few weeks ago and the Shrimpers are suddenly a much sterner proposition.

Of course, dips and blips lie in wait at some stage but for now the Shrimpers and their supporters feel far more positive and are now enjoying their football once again - thanks to an already record-breaking manager!