CHRIS Powell feels Southend United are facing their biggest game of recent times when they host fellow strugglers AFC Wimbledon on Saturday.

The Dons head to Roots Hall sitting bottom of the League One standings.

But Powell is keen to ensure his out of form team, who sit 18th in the table, end their nine match winless streak.

“Saturday is the biggest game we’ve had in a long time and I’ve told that to the players already,” said the Blues boss.

“Whether you’re a young player or an old player it’s a big game and the biggest we’ve had in ages I would say.

“We have to pull out a result from somewhere.

“We were close to doing that at Blackpool and we looked in the ascendency early on at Scunthorpe too.

“But the longer it went on the tougher it got.”

And Powell believes his players have bow been affected mentally by their struggles.

“It’s not just physical, I think they’re finding it very hard mentally to turn things around too,” said the 49-year-old.

“We have to overcome what happened at Scunthorpe and Saturday is our biggest game of the season so far.”

Blues head into the contest having taken just four points from their last nine games and, despite their lowly League placing, Wimbledon are actually in far greater form.

The Dons are unbeaten in their last five games and have triumphed in their last two outings.

But Powell is desperate to see them off on Saturday.

“We have nine games to go and 27 points to play for but it’s absolutely huge for us this weekend,” said the Shrimpers boss.

“I’ve addressed the players and told them to be ready for 3pm on Saturday.

“They have to be ready and they have to be ready for how the crowd are going to be too.

“It’s going to be edgy and we have to give the supporters something because we haven’t given them enough.

“Saturday will be a game the players will need to give absolutely everything they’ve got because we’re in a predicament. It’s a tough situation and they’re the only ones who can get us out of it.”

Blues have triumphed just once since New Year’s Day and sit only two points above the drop zone.