IT’S decision time for Southend United chairman Ron Martin.

But Saturday’s dire 1-0 defeat to Accrington Stanley shows that whoever does get chosen as the Shrimpers’ next manager has an exceptionally difficult job on his hands.

For this is not a slight dip in Blues’ form, it is a prolonged period of wretched results and performances which sees the Shrimpers again fighting for League One survival.

The Shrimpers, have now been beaten 11 times in their 16 home League games during 2019 but the alarming statistics do not stop there.

Last season, Blues suffered a club record 13 defeats at Roots Hall while the current campaign also saw the Shrimpers get off to the worst start in their 113-year-old history after suffering six successive defeats.

Blues now have just four points from their opening 10 games, nine points less than at this stage last season which ultimately ended in Southend avoiding relegation on goal difference after a dramatic final day victory against Sunderland.

The manner of that last-gasp win and the subsequent celebrations had been seen as something for the Shrimpers to build on.

Staying up, against all odds, should have been a huge wake-up call for Blues.

But, somehow, just when it seemed things could not get any worse, they have.

And, while September may normally be too early to suggest a side is in deep danger, it is safe to say the Shrimpers are already facing a huge fight to stay up.

On current form, Blues would finish the season on just 18 points after taking, on average, only 0.4 points per game so far.

Now, on average, during the past 10 seasons, it has taken 49 points to stay up.

That total may be slightly lower this season due to a reduction in games following Bury’s departure from the League.

But, either way, the Shrimpers must make considerable improvements to even be in with a chance of avoiding relegation.

And, if 49 points are again needed to secure survival, then Blues will need to pick up 45 points from their remaining 33 games.

That is an average of 1.4 points per game which, if replicated throughout the course of a campaign, is play-off form.

Those requirements perhaps underline the sheer size of the challenge facing the next Shrimpers boss.

But where do Blues turn now?

As was written in these pages last week, a permanent managerial appointment is needed in a bid to secure stability.

And there appear to be three main candidates for the job – Gary Waddock, Henrik Larsson and Adam Barrett.

Waddock has taken four points from his four games in charge as caretaker manager and has made a good impression on the players.

Success on Saturday would have seem him as favourite for the role until at least the end of the season.

But a limp and lacklustre display against Accrington could now see Martin opting to look elsewhere.

Blues were not helped by injuries to attacking duo Charlie Kelman and Simon Cox in the first half on Saturday.

However, the Shrimpers were unable to register a single shot on target during a depressing defeat which would have been far more convincing had it not been for some fine saves from Mark Oxley.

Southend had been hoping to build on the spirited 1-0 win at MK Dons in their previous outing.

But what transpired was another below par showing which already leaves Blues five points from safety.

The clash was again watched by Larsson for the second Saturday in succession and the Swede remains favourite for the role.

The appointment of the former Barcelona and Celtic star would generate huge interest and publicity.

But delve beneath the glitz and glamour of a star name and Larsson’s appointment would actually represent a huge gamble.

How much does the ex-striker know about League One football and how would he be able to work with players plying their trade in the third tier of English football?

Furthermore, Larsson endured a tricky start to management in Sweden and an Echosport poll showed 62 per cent of Blues fans would not want him in charge at this stage.

Barrett represents another option and his arrival would arguably give everyone the biggest lift due to his connections to the club.

But, whoever does get the job, the players must also start to perform as showings like Saturday will result in a return to League Two.