SOUTHEND United manager Chris Powell has called on his side to shape up defensively.

Blues - who head to Shrewsbury Town tomorrow - have leaked 16 goals in nine games this season having conceded just 15 in their 18 outings under Powell at the end of last term.

And Powell is keen for the Shrimpers to get back to their best at the back.

“We’re a forward thinking team but maybe too much,” said the 49-year-old.

“We have to recognise we need to be better without the ball and with our decisions when we’re defending.

“We need to sense danger and that’s a big thing right now.

“I still believe in how we play and what our principles are but we just have to make sure we have that defensive mind in certain situations because we haven’t done that well enough so far.”

Just four teams in the whole of League One have conceded more goals than the Shrimpers this season.

And Powell wants Blues to maintain their concentration as they bid to bounce back from two successive League One defeats when they head to Shrewsbury tomorrow.

“The last two results have been tough to take but that’s gone now,” said Powell.

“We have to focus on the next game and that’s Shrewsbury.

“We have to go there and believe in ourselves and believe in what we’ve done well in games.

“Lapses in concentration, especially towards the end of games, have cost us.

“I’ve been very frank and very open with the players but we’ve had some good away performances this season and now we need another one.”

Shrewsbury have had their own struggles this season and have yet to win so far this term.

But Powell is taking nothing for granted against the new look Shrews, who narrowly missed out on automatic promotion last season.

“Shrewsbury are adapting to a new manager but it was a good point at Portsmouth for them last weekend,” said Powell.

“They have a way of playing and it’s up to us to try and overcome that.

“I know the stats with regards to wins, draws and losses but you can never call it in League One.

“It’s all about what happens on the day and we will need a sturdy away performance to win there because they’re starting to pick up.”

Blues head into tomorrow’s game sitting 16th in the League One table, with Shrewsbury in 22nd.