ON a huge weekend for heavyweight boxing, Southend United stayed firmly on the canvas after suffering a fifth defeat in succession.

Burton Albion ended their own bad run of results by triumphing 3-2 at Roots Hall.

And, despite the closeness of the final score-line, the harsh reality was Blues found it tough to land a glove on their opponents.

Without wanting to sound like a broken record, these are tough, unenjoyable times for the Shrimpers and relegation back to League Two has been a foregone conclusion for quite some time.

Continuing the boxing theme, Southend pretty much threw the towel in for this campaign during the January transfer window.

Eight players left without any arriving in the opposite direction and, as such, it seems as though Blues will pick up just a handful of points between now and the end of the season.

With a depleted squad, the Shrimpers will regularly be forced into fielding a large number of youngsters from the club’s academy.

And, while it always pleasing to see these promising players getting a go, using so many at the same time week in, week out is a tough ask for such an inexperienced group.

Five of the club’s academy products started on Saturday, with a further five on the bench.

But Burton fully deserved their win and, had they not gifted the home-side two bizarre goals, the Brewers would have been celebrating a far bigger victory.

Albion goalkeeper Kieran O’Hara somehow punched a looping effort from Sam Mantom into his own net for one of the strangest goals seen at Roots Hall in recent seasons.

And, late on, Albion defender John-Joe O’Toole headed a long throw from Sam Barratt into the South Stand net, meaning he scored his first goal for the Shrimpers six years after ending his loan spell at Roots Hall.

O’Toole’s effort did not stop Burton ending their run of six games without a win as more misery was piled on to the struggling Blues who remain second from bottom in the standings, 15 points from safety.

The damning statistics do not stop there and the Shrimpers have now conceded 82 goals in 33 games, 20 goals more than any other team in League One.

Off the pitch, Blues are again engulfed in financial problems and chairman Ron Martin revealed to Echosport last week that the club must pay a minimum of £600,000 to escape a transfer embargo.

Those debts remain a cause for concern and the future seems far from bright at this stage.

This season cannot end soon enough but on Saturday it did feel more could have been done to help Blues pick up points.

Now, Sol Campbell does deserve a certain degree of sympathy for the situation he has inherited at Roots Hall.

He has, in fairness, been asked to manage with one hand tied behind his back after losing a number of players without being able to bring anyone in.

As someone said to me on Saturday, it could be compared to having to drive a mini in a Formula One race.

But, despite those difficulties, Campbell has chosen to stay and he therefore needs to start making the most out of the limited options he does have at his disposal.

Jason Demetriou – a fantastic and experienced professional – was strangely left out for the third game in succession at the weekend.

Demetriou was initially thought to be rested to protect an ongoing knee concern but the Cypriot international has now been left out for a prolonged period.

That seems strange given Campbell’s complaints about having to use a large number of youngsters as Demetriou could easily have slotted in at right-back or in midfield against Burton, a move which would have allowed Timothee Dieng to continue at the heart of the back four instead of moving into the centre of the park.

Sam Barratt may also not be the most experienced of players.

But his return to full fitness has been one of very few positives this season and it would be great to see him given a go on one wing with Stephen McLaughlin on the other.

For, right now, Blues are offering very little going forward and Charlie Kelman is becoming an incredibly isolated and frustrated figure in attack.

The youngster is crying out for support alongside him and the Shrimpers need to start giving it more of a go.

Relegation is inevitable but the club owe it to their loyal fanbase to at least go down fighting.