SO far have Southend United fallen in recent seasons that at times even a narrow defeat can be viewed as ‘not that bad’.

But it is that mentality Blues head coach Kevin Maher must fight hard to change if the club are to finally start fighting back from an horrific few years at Roots Hall.

The Shrimpers were beaten 1-0 at high-flying Grimsby Town on Friday as their miserable run of results continued.

And Blues have now been beaten five times in their last six outings.

The poor run leaves them sitting just one place and one point above the National League drop zone and the Shrimpers are now at serious risk of suffering a third successive relegation.

The latest setback came against the Mariners who scored the only goal of the game after just three minutes when Ryan Taylor capitalised on some hesitant defending to sweep the ball home.

But, given the recent record, it was somewhat encouraging Southend did not crumble after going behind so early on and were at least able to stay in the game.

Far too often in recent times the Shrimpers’ soft belly has been exposed and opposing sides have been able to build a far bigger lead in quite a short space of time.

That was not the case at Blundell Park but ultimately Blues still ended the encounter empty handed and that is all that matters.

Right now, it is all about getting results and the points needed to stay up.

But given quite how bad things have been and, in truth still are, there is no quick fix.

Even a quick glance at the league table shows this Shrimpers side is simply not good enough and reinforcements are desperately needed if relegation is to be avoided.

And they are also going to be needed if boss Maher and his coaching team are to be able to stamp their own authority on things.

While the importance of formations are often overstated, Blues are currently hindered in what style of play they can use given the options at their disposal.

With Nathan Ralph sidelined again and Tom Clifford still out, the Shrimpers are short of left-backs with the inexperienced Charlie Sayers the only natural for that role currently available.

Now may not be the best of times to throw in a 17-year-old, even if he does remain a bright prospect for the future.

The right sided Jason Demetriou filled in at left-back on Friday night while John White, who has featured more centrally in recent years, reverted to right-back.

It was certainly far from ideal and again showed the need for new signings.

But Blues are also lacking in other areas, including out wide.

The knee injury suffered by Jack Bridge – one of the few bright spots this season – came as a huge blow and left the Shrimpers short of wingers, something else which will currently dictate how Maher has to play.

The Blues boss shifted to a 4-2-3-1 formation on Friday night, with Louis Walsh starting on the right flank.

And, for me, his performance was the biggest positive from the Shrimpers’ perspective.

Walsh has found opportunities hard to come by this season but the change of shape facilitated his return on Friday and the winger looked lively out wide.

Walsh will now be looking to build on his promising return and Blues must find a way to pose more problems pushing forward.

The Shrimpers rarely looked like scoring against Grimsby and it is glaringly obvious more quality and creativity is needed in the final third.

Blues have now scored just 11 goals in 15 league games this season, the joint lowest in the whole division.

Four of those goals also came against rock bottom Dover to further underline the fact new signings are needed.

The weaknesses do not end there and do Blues currently have the options to select just two men in central midfield?

It is certainly hard to conjure up a combination which brings the required mobility, physicality and awareness and it is another area of concern.

Throw all of that together and it shows just how much needs to be sorted for the Shrimpers to move clear of the drop zone.

But there is no magic formular to suddenly turn things around.

Blues look set to add to their backroom team this week but new faces are needed on the pitch if improvements and progress are to be made and narrow defeats are to result in only disappointment once again.