CHRIS Powell has called on everyone connected with Southend United to stick together as the Shrimpers fight to secure their League One status.

Blues have gone nine games without a win and now sit 18th in the League One standings, just two points above the relegation zone ahead of tomorrow’s crunch clash with AFC Wimbledon.

And Powell believes the club must remain united if the Shrimpers are to stop their slide down the table.

“We’re under no illusions about what lies ahead but we need to get round one another and support each other too,” said Powell.

“Confidence is low and we have to support the group because they’re the only ones who can change it.

“We have to stay together and we have to stay positive to guide each other through the 90 minutes.

“Wimbledon have a bit of momentum but they’re still in a precarious position so we know it’s a big game.”

Wimbledon are currently bottom of the League One table, six points below the Shrimpers.

But Powell is not keen to place too much significance on the clash at Roots Hall.

“It’s another important game but it’s not the last game,” said the Blues boss.

“We have to keep calm and stay focused and you have to block out the noise and negativity.

“It’s a really tough period which we have to get through because I know what’s at the other end.

“If we can do what we need to do there’s a good squad here, we just haven’t had them all at the same time.”

And Powell feels the injuries have stopped the Shrimpers having a settled starting line-up.

“Last year it was quite simple and the confidence grew and so did the form,” said Powell.

“This year we’ve had a solution for a game but then something happens and we have to change it.

“The form dips or the result goes against you and you have to change it.

“That’s been us this year and you have to try and manage the situation game by game before you can look to what is a bright future.

“We have a strong squad which is capable of good things but it’s all about the short-term at the moment and the game against Wimbledon.”

Powell will still be without Stephen Humphrys this weekend.

The striker underwent surgery on a fractured eye-socket yesterday and Powell is still unsure when the forward will be fit to feature.

“He’s had an op which we believe is successful and that is great but it’s about the rehab now,” said Powell.

“It’s in such a precarious place that it can affect your confidence going for headers.

“You have to overcome that but hopefully there comes a point he can wear a mask and play.

“But that will be sometime in the future.”