ANOTHER Saturday meant another setback for struggling Southend United.

Two second half goals saw Coventry City secure a 2-0 victory at a blustery Roots Hall.

And, as such, Blues have now been beaten 21 times in 31 League One outings so far this season.

The Shrimpers’ hopes of survival have long since gone and a painful countdown to the end of a simply horrific season has now begun.

Slight improvements have been made since Sol Campbell took control.

But a disastrous January transfer window arguably took Blues back to square one as the former England international must now rely on a number of youngsters.

Six teenagers finished Saturday’s clash and just three of those who were still on the pitch at the final whistle were older than 21.

Now, of course everyone loves to see youth products working their way through the ranks.

And the work being done in the club’s academy is probably the only single bright spot for Blues right now.

But having to call on so many youngsters at the same time is far from ideal.

In fairness, those who pulled on the shirt at the weekend again put a real shift in and could certainly not be faulted for effort.

However, the Shrimpers never really troubled their opponents and lacked creative qualities as they failed to register a single effort on target.

Campbell’s side shut out the Sky Blues for an hour before two City substitutes scored in fairly quick succession to secure the visitors’ fourth League win in a row.

As a result, Coventry will now continue their push for a place in the Championship while in stark contrast the Shrimpers cannot really sink much lower right now.

As I mentioned on these pages last week, watching Blues matches is simply not fun anymore.

Gone is the enjoyment, the adrenaline, the excitement and expectation.

And in its place is a horrible realisation that Southend are a club in crisis.

Time and time again this season just as you think things cannot get any worse, they do.

The campaign kicked off with Kevin Bond way out of his depth and peaked when he failed to attend an after match interview.

After that came a 46 day wait for his replacement where Gary Waddock did his best in trying circumstances while Blues bizarrely attempted to appoint Henrik Larsson.

After that came a club record 7-1 defeat at home to Doncaster Rovers, Campbell’s appointment and FA Cup humiliation at non-league Dover Athletic.

Throw in the late payment of wages, the lack of clean sheets, the worst defensive record in the country. the lack of any new signings during January and the ongoing saga involving the two former Macclesfield Town players it is hard to feel at all positive at this stage.

And perhaps the biggest worry of all is when will the downward spiral end?

A number of the squad is out of contract at the end of the season and it is seems almost certain that a clear out will take place.

But will Blues have the finances to rebuild once again, will lessons have been learnt in recruitment and will anyone with any real quality want to come to Roots Hall either?

Joining the Shrimpers is not an attractive proposition right now and it seems destined to be another tough season in League Two next term.

Before then Blues still have 13 games to go during the current campaign and more defeats and disappointment seem pretty much certain.

An injury to goalkeeper Mark Oxley during Saturday’s clash will certainly not help the cause and 18-year-old Callum Taylor, who made his debut when coming off the bench against Coventry, is now Campbell’s only option between the sticks.

The youngsters are being called upon at the toughest possible time but, in Tom Clifford’s case, he continues to show he is more than up to the challenge.

The left-back produced another man of the match performance at the weekend and with attention turning towards next season he must be offered a new deal now.

But who will actually still be the Shrimpers next term remains to be seen as these are very worrying times both on and off the pitch.

Years of mismanagement has hit the club extremely hard.

And there is seemingly no sign of things getting back on track anytime soon.