PAUL Clark has urged the Roots Hall hierarchy to show patience in their pursuit of the next Southend United manager.

Clark took charge of the Shrimpers back in September 1987 following a disastrous start to the season under Dick Bate.

And the 60-year-old wants those making the decision to make sure they make the right appointment.

“It just has to be the right man who gets the job next,” said Clark.

“I see all the names being mentioned but do we know they actually want the job.

“I would go through the list of those who have applied and then sit down to talk to those who I think would be good.

“But you can’t appoint someone because of what they’ve done in the past and you can’t appoint someone because they have been a good player here and love the club.

“There’s 7,000 fans every week who love the club but they wouldn’t be the right choice as manager. You have to set the criteria you want and then find who fits that by sitting down and talking to them.”

However, Clark – who made 342 appearances for the Shrimpers as a player – can vividly remember stepping into the Roots Hall hotseat to replace Bate when he was just 29.

“Dick was trying to play a certain way and it didn’t really suit the players we had, which I’m sure sounds familiar,” said Clark.

“We decided to go back to the style which had got us promotion the year before and we were able to get ourselves out of trouble before starting again.

“Just like then, the first target for someone coming in now will be to make sure Southend stay up.”

The Shrimpers have started the current League One season with six successive defeats.

But back in 1987, Blues had two points from their first six games before fighting back to finish 17th in the standings, three points above the relegation zone.

Gary Waddock is currently in charge on a caretaker basis but Adam Barrett remains the bookmakers' favourite for the job.

However, Clark feels Barrett should only get the job if Martin feels the former Blues defender is the right man.

"I don't know if Adam is the right man but get him in and talk to him to find out," said Clark.

"He shouldn't just get the job because he was a terrific player and loves the club because that didn't work out too well last time.

"I'm told he's a good coach but you have to sit down with people to find out more."