SOUTHEND United have shortened their list of possible candidates for the vacant managerial role at Roots Hall.

The Shrimpers are looking to replace former Blues boss Phil Brown.

And Stan Collymore – who is on the four man panel to pick the next manager – confirmed the search is well underway.

"Sunday and all day yesterday, Gary Lockett, Tom Lawrence and I , Ron will attend final interviews, turned a long list into a much shorter one in the hunt for an exciting new Southend United managerial team,” said Collymore.

“I'd like to thank Gary and Tom for their excellent due diligence, hard work in making sure we looked at every candidate from every possible angle, and their input which continued long into the night.

“I suggested dividing the final candidates list between the three of us , contacting them and starting a full day of interviews tomorrow.

“To that end I've contacted my number of candidates and they are delighted to have made the final cut.”

Collymore did not reveal the number of candidates for the role but is keen to speak to as many possible managers as possible.

“The final number to be interviewed I won't divulge,” said the former Blues striker.

“It will ultimately be Ron's decision how many he - plus Gary, Tom and I – want to interview.

“My view is simple, the more the better.

“We need to find the right person for this wonderful role(s) so we should give everyone identified an opportunity to put their vision forward.

“Ultimately though Ron will decide how many.”

Collymore was up until 5am this morning putting a document together on the remaining candidates.

And he is determined to help ensure the right man is appointed.

“I'm not divulging criteria other than saying that this wasn't a fantasy list of pie in the sky names,” said Collymore.

“It is a relevant and up to date list targeting what Southend United need to get turned around on the pitch quickly, where players can be developed and given confidence quickly, where a knowledge of the division is a pre requisite and where the integrity of Southend United Football Club is assured. A guarantee to you as promised.”

Blues host Chertsey Town in the FA Cup this weekend before travelling to Dagenham & Redbridge in the National League the following Saturday.

And the Shrimpers are keen to get the right man in charge as quickly as they can.

“The three of us are all agreed that time is a factor,” said Collymore.

“We want the players to have every last second to work with a new manager with huge League games coming up so we want our man installed, but not to the detriment of a full due diligence process that is a process not another procession.

“That is my line in the sand, doing things properly will pay this club back.”