THERE can simply now be no denying Southend United are facing a fight to maintain their League One status.

The Shrimpers may still be 13th in the standings and several sides are between them and the relegation zone.

But, on current form, Blues seem set to be dragged deeper into danger and it looks like being a nerve-wracking ending to the campaign.

Following on from Saturday’s 3-0 defeat to promotion-chasing Barnsley, Southend have now not won in seven games and have taken just three points from a possible 21.

During the same number of fixtures, the 11 sides below the Shrimpers in the standings have all picked up more points.

And, other than Walsall, who are also experiencing a loss of form, all of the teams have picked up at least double the number of points the Shrimpers have been able to secure.

Bristol Rovers, who are managed by former Blues coach Graham Coughlan, have picked up the most points during the seven games.

And should the Pirates win their game in hand, albeit at play-off pushing Doncaster Rovers, then the Shrimpers would suddenly find themselves just two points above the dreaded bottom four.

Blues are third from bottom in the League One form guide right now and Saturday’s setback was another big blow for the team’s confidence.

Barnsley are without any shadow of a doubt one of the strongest sides at this level and look very well set to go on to win promotion this term.

But on Saturday they were still too strong for the Shrimpers despite having to play close to an hour with only 10 men.

Tykes midfielder Jacob Brown was dismissed before the break following a high challenge on Blues skipper Sam Mantom.

But the Shrimpers seemed to lack the belief they could still go on to get something from the game and ultimately went on to suffer a rather depressing defeat in front of the Sky Sports cameras in attendance.

Statistics from the past 10 seasons show Southend will need to win three of their remaining 11 to guarantee survival.

Blues have, in actual fact, won three of their previous 12 outings and will face some crunch clashes in the weeks to come.

Next week could prove to be hugely significant as the Shrimpers face three fixtures in the space of just eight days.

Two of those look quite tough on the road with a trip to Blackpool – who seem set to be roared on by a bumper crowd following the removal of their controversial directors at the weekend - before Blues head to Scunthorpe United’s Glanford Park ground, where they have never won, the following Tuesday.

After that comes a hugely important encounter against bottom of the table AFC Wimbledon.

However, that will be played at Roots Hall, where the Shrimpers have struggled to impress this term.

Saturday’s setback was the 10th Blues have suffered at home and only AFC Wimbledon have been beaten more at their own ground.

The Shrimpers are now only one home defeat from equalling an unwanted club record, which was set during the 2003/04 and the 2006/07 seasons. But somehow or other Southend need to stop the rot.

Blues boss Chris Powell remains short of options, especially in attack where Simon Cox is currently the only available senior striker at his disposal.

Injuries remain an unpopular excuse among some of the supporters but they have had a huge impact on the season.

Powell was missing 10 players at the weekend while Rob Kiernan and Harry Lennon, who were both on the bench, have yet to regain full fitness.

Six of those who are currently unavailable could arguably be considered to be part of the Shrimpers’ strongest starting line-up.

However, those who are still available should be capable of performing to a far higher standard.

Right now, Blues seem to be a soft touch and are unable to shut out opposing sides.

Southend have conceded 10 goals in their last four games and have managed just one clean sheet since beating Gillingham on New Year’s Day.

But Blues must now stick together, bid to become more organised and also find a voice as the team right now is the quietest seen in several seasons.

Things are precariously placed and relegation would certainly add insult to the injuries.