NATIONAL League expert Adam Virgo feels Southend United are facing the biggest managerial appointment in their history.

Blues opted to part company with manager Phil Brown following Saturday’s 4-0 defeat to Chesterfield.

And Virgo, who covers the fifth tier of the game for BT Sport, believes the Shrimpers’ next boss must know all about football at this level.

“This could arguably be the biggest appointment the club ever make due to the significance of where they are in the league,” said Virgo.

“Another relegation, this time to National League South would be absolutely disastrous and I really think Southend have to go and find a manager who knows this league.

“You cannot afford to go in for a manager who is out of work and never managed in this league.

“You could delve into National League North or South but that’s a huge risk.

“Chesterfield have done that with James Rowe and he’s doing a magnificent job but they’re not in a situation like Southend are.”

The Shrimpers sit 20th in the National League table having previously suffered back to back relegations.

And Virgo believes former Bromley boss Neil Smith and ex Stockport County manager Jim Gannon would both be a good fit for Blues.

“Neil Smith is the obvious one for me,” said Virgo.

“He’s been there and done it with Bromley.

“He relies a lot on senior players and players he can trust.

“Southend have got those players and Neil’s very good at getting the best out of them.

“Stockport were in fifth with Jim Gannon and he’d be another one for Southend.

“He’s been there and done it.

“He’s a hard worker and his teams work hard too.”

Former Barnet boss Darren Currie has also been linked with Blues.

But Virgo is not sure Currie would be the correct choice at this moment in time.

“Darren’s learnt from John Still down the years which is a good education for him and he got Barnet into the play-offs,” said Virgo.

“But the only thing with Darren compared to Jim and Neil is that he’s very much a technician and wants his teams to play out from the back.

“He wants to play football and at this stage of Southend’s season you can’t afford to do that.

“Hypothetically, if Southend were ninth and Phil Brown had got a job in the Football League then Darren would step in slightly easier than another manager at that point.”

But Virgo feels managers may be reluctant to head to Roots Hall. “The running of the club seems to be difficult and it seems managers go in and don’t have much success there at the moment,” said Virgo.

“Campbell went in and struggled and so have Molesley and Brown so there’s never been any consistency over the last three years.

“If you get it right the rewards could be huge.

“Roots Hall would be rocking again and you could get real momentum.

“I think Neil would be the favourite if not Jim.

“But will they want to take it because of the reputation?

“They might think they could be out of a job again by March.

“It would be brave to go in there but it would be very rewarding to turn it all around.”