IN the build-up to Saturday’s clash at Bristol Rovers, Southend United boss Sol Campbell revealed how he had often turned down requests to appear in the hit ITV show I’m a Celebrity.

But, during the second half at the Memorial Stadium, the former England international could have been forgiven for screaming ‘get me out of here.’ The Shrimpers went into the weekend’s encounter on the back of a wretched run of results but responded by producing their best 45 minutes of the season.

Strikes from Tom Hopper and Brandon Goodship put Southend two goals to the good and such was Blues’ domination in the first half that they could and arguably should have been even further in front.

Timothee Dieng saw a volley tipped onto the post while Stephen McLaughlin, Jason Demetriou and Hopper were also presented with other opportunities to score.

However, this is a Southend side desperately lacking in character and right now it still appears to be a question of when and not if things will start to go wrong.

The answer this week was right from the start of the second half as Rovers immediately began to get back on top.

Tom Nicholls was denied by Blues goalkeeper Nathan Bishop within seconds of the restart.

But, three minutes later, Jonson Clarke-Harris hit the back of the net from the penalty spot and from then on in it almost seemed inevitable the Shrimpers would suffer another defeat.

After all, Blues have now been beaten 16 times in 20 League One outings so far this season and still been able to secure just one victory.

Subsequently, just five points have been picked up from a possible 60 and, perhaps most alarmingly of all, the Shrimpers have already conceded an unbelievable 57 goals.

As such, it now seems almost the norm for Blues to be breached on a regular basis and one goal going in will often lead to several others following in quick succession.

One look at the League table confirms that theory but Bristol Rovers – and maybe Burton Albion before them – could have initially taken the Shrimpers too lightly.

Rovers were off the pace for the first 45 minutes but their boss Graham Coughlan and his first team coach Kevin Maher know Blues better than most and were able to turn things around after the break.

Rovers upped their physicality in the second half and also went far more direct – something the Shrimpers were simply unable to deal with.

The Pirates’ first three goals all came from route one balls into the box as Blues’ soft underbelly was again exposed.

But, in truth, this is a Shrimpers side currently lacking in most if not all departments.

The team remains far too quiet and is lacking leadership, character, quality and confidence.

The poor run of results has clearly hit the team hard and a change of mentality is needed before things will start to turn around.

That will take time and it is alarmingly obvious that changes must be made in key areas of the pitch for Blues to start picking up more points.

Central midfield remains the biggest problem while the Shrimpers are also short of options at the heart of the back four now.

Additions will need to be made in January but, in their current situation, Blues are likely to find it tough going to bring in the required reinforcements.

More misery seems to be on the cards for the Shrimpers and relegation is now a foregone conclusion. Sol Campbell’s side sit 11 points from safety having played more games than the teams around them and they also have a far inferior goal difference. Adding to that, Blues have managed to keep just one clean sheet since January and are having to play people out of position at the back due to the list of unavailable players.

Nathan Ralph’s dislocated shoulder has left the Shrimpers short of a senior left-back, with Richard Taylor - a young centre-back - filling in there at the weekend.

But, right now, watching Blues is tougher than it has ever been before during my 30 years of following the club’s fortunes.

Going to games and watching football is no longer fun and the long suffering fans are to be applauded for their loyalty at this time.

And the thought of having to watch another 24 games this season seems more torturous than any bushtucker trial in the jungle!