SPENCER Prior feels the vacant managerial role at Southend United is still an attractive job.

But the former Shrimpers defender feels Phil Brown’s replacement must be thick skinned.

Blues are currently 20th in the National League standings having previously suffered back to back relegations.

And Prior wants the next Southend boss to be able to change the squad’s mentality.

“It needs to be someone who has the ability to come in and change the mindset of the players and protect them,” said Prior.

“I didn’t feel like that happened with Phil and I didn’t feel like he protected the players.

“It needs fresh ideas and approach.

“Ron’s talked before about someone who eats, sleeps and breathes Southend United but that’s rubbish in my eyes. That should be a given.

“The person who is going to come in is going to be passionate and the team will be their baby.

“Ron historically didn’t have a reputation for changing managers but that’s there now.

“But by what he says on the Zoom call there’s a good budget so I do think it’s still an attractive job.

“It needs somebody with incredibly thick skin that cannot get distracted by the stuff going on off the pitch.”

Fans have stepped up their protests against Martin’s running of the game in the last two home games.

But Prior feels the supporters can only making an impact by not attending.

“The only way the fans can change it is by literally staying away from the club,” said Prior.

“This should be your release and a chance to get some endorphins going.

“But you (the Echo’s Chris Phillips) said you actually fear going to the game.

“If you fear going to the game and you’re a supporter then think about what the players are going through too.

“They will be playing with fear and that’s not because of the fans’ reaction.

“Fear is the biggest crippler of a professional athlete.

“It’s the most toxic thing that you can have, 100 per cent.

“Fear then leads to anger within the supporters and with the players it leads to poor performances.”

However, Prior feels Blues must be able to deal with the hostile atmosphere at Roots Hall.

“Ron came out the other day about the fans’ anger on the touchline affecting the players but the players have to rise above that and the manager has to as well,” said Prior.

“They have to create almost a siege mentality to internally turn that around and shut off the external noise.

And Prior experienced something similar while with Manchester City.

“I came into Manchester City just after their downward spiral,” said Prior.

“The legacy of that was that we changed at the ground, got on a mini bus and went to a school to warm up there because the atmosphere at the ground was so hostile to the players that they created something where the team wouldn’t warm up on the pitch as they created negative emotions before the game.

“Where they can be 6,000 or 7,000 at Southend at Man City it was 25,000 to 30,000. “ But Prior feels Blues’ new manager must be able to build a better atmosphere.

“The new manager needs to come in and create a atmosphere that can shut away from the external stuff that’s going on,” said Prior.

“That’s the biggest thing the new manager can do and, of course, pick up some results straight away.

“But that comes from creating a positive atmosphere and not getting distracted by that.”