SO just where do Southend United go from here?

Saturday’s dismal 3-1 defeat at Northampton Town was the Shrimpers’ seventh in eight games but the worrying statistics do not stop there.

The out of form Blues have taken just three points from the last 21 on offer.

And, on top of that, the Shrimpers have now gone eight away matches without a win and have conceded more goals on the road than any other team in League One having been breached 33 times in just 14 games.

Furthermore, Southend sit 17th in the League One standings, four points above the relegation zone having played more games than five of the seven teams below them.

Blues are also 21st in the form guide for the last six matches and have been beaten by teams in the bottom four in their last two outings.

That - more than anything else - should certainly underline the seriousness of the situation the Shrimpers currently find themselves in.

But, in truth, it only tells half the story.

At present, Southend seem a side who are down in the dumps, short of spirit, character, confidence and any kind of spark and it makes for tough viewing.

Now, in terms of professionalism, I should maybe not admit to having been a Blues fan all my life.

However, it means the Shrimpers are far more than just a team I write about yet, right now, the fun factor is missing both on and off the pitch and going to games is not at all enjoyable.

People are heading to matches more in hope than expectation and, quite simply, it just isn’t good enough.

Last season, Blues missed out on the play-offs by a single point and invested heavily in the summer in a bid to finish even higher this time around.

But, at this stage, the only way the Shrimpers will be heading out of League One is via relegation – something which is becoming a serious concern.

A number of players are performing nowhere near their full potential and the fans – quite understandably – are beginning to express their frustrations.

On Saturday, chants for manager Phil Brown to be removed were clearly heard for the first time while one disgruntled travelling supporter unhurled a banner asking for the 58-year-old to be dismissed.

Pressure is certainly mounting on Brown’s shoulders and Saturday’s setback came against a side also woefully out of form.

Northampton had triumphed just once in 11 games before beating Blues but the Cobblers seemed hungrier to succeed and could have triumphed by a far greater margin.

That heaped more misery onto the out of sorts Shrimpers, who will now be desperate to turn things around.

With that in mind, the departure of Ryan Leonard will not help the cause but allowing the star midfielder to join Sheffield United was the right decision for a variety of reasons.

Blues now face the tough task of trying to replace him during an absolutely critical stage in their future.

For, judging by recent displays, the Shrimpers need at least one new striker, a midfielder and, depending on the injury situation, another defender as well.

But, above all else, Southend need to bring in power, pace and mobility to revitalise their stuttering season and to lift those of good enough standard in the existing squad.

However, the right players have to be brought in as poor recruitment is a massive reason why Blues have been below par this season.

With so much now at stake that cannot continue as everything is currently pointing towards the Shrimpers being in big, big trouble.

In a bid to sort the situation - which is now far more than just a blip in form - the Roots Hall hierarchy made some difficult decisions last week with Leonard and Nile Ranger both moving on.

But, after Saturday’s shambles, another massive call may well be needed on the manager - unless immediate improvements can be seen.