ANTHONY Wordsworth feels Southend United’s struggles could be down to a lack of character.

Wordsworth returns to Roots Hall with AFC Wimbledon this weekend.

But he is surprised to see the Shrimpers enduring another run of bad results.

“I am surprised to see Southend down there struggling because I don’t think they should be with the players they have in that squad,” said Wordsworth, who scored 19 goals in 89 appearances for Blues.

“Something obviously isn’t quite right there because individually they’re good players.

“But I don’t think the team spirit is there and I think they’re lacking character too.

“Chris Powell let some big players and big characters leave thinking the youngsters could step up to the plate but they haven’t been able to do that.”

Wordsworth was one of the players let go by Powell at the end of the 2017/18 season.

And the 30-year-old still remains disappointed by the manner of his departure.

“I was disappointed by how I left,” said Wordsworth.

“I lost my brother and my nan in the space of a few days and my head wasn’t really in football at the time.

“My mind was on more important things really as my mum had just lost her oldest son and my dad has lost his mum so it was a tough time.

“All I really needed was an arm round the shoulder but I didn’t ever get that and I ended up getting released.”

However, had things worked out differently, Wordsworth could still be with the Shrimpers after he was offered a new deal by manager Phil Brown before he was sacked.

“I was offered the deal and it was one I was happy with too,” said Wordsworth.

“I just had other things on my mind and then there was a change in management.

“But these things happen in football and I think they happen for a reason.

“I’m enjoying my football at Wimbledon and I’m looking forward to Saturday’s game.

“It will be nice to see some familiar faces, especially Coxy (Simon Cox) and Rob Kiernan who I speak to most days.”

Wimbledon have also made a slow start to the season and sit just above Blues in the standings, with six points from 12 games.

And Wordsworth feels Saturday’s clash is of huge importance.

“It was a six pointer when we met towards the end of last season and it’s another six pointer at the weekend which is something you wouldn’t expect so early on,” said the midfielder.

“We’re in a similar situation and we’re both managerless at the moment so we could both do with a win.”

And Wordsworth is also keen to play a big part.

“I had a dislocated shoulder and tendinitis in my Achilles which I played with for most of last season but I’m back now and feeling good again,” said Wordsworth.

“Saturday will be another game towards really getting back to full fitness again and it would be good if we could get a repeat of last season’s win.”