Chris Powell
Southend, 01 January, 2019 Chris Powell manager of Southend United during Sky Bet League One match between Southend United and Gillingham at Roots Hall Ground, Southend, England on 01 Jan 2019. (Photo by Action Foto Sport/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

League One strugglers Southend have sacked manager Chris Powell. This comes after a winless run of 11 games, stretching back to mid-January. Head of Academy Ricky Duncan will take temporary charge of the Shrimpers.

Chris Powell Sacked by Southend

Stick or Twist?

Southend languish in 20th place and are only out of the relegation zone on goal difference. This move is certainly a bold call and could prove to be risky. However, with United free-falling down the table, the Roots Hall hierarchy will be hoping the decision galvanises the players and brings an instant reaction from them. A statement on their club website said:

“It is with much regret that the Club has this morning terminated Chris Powell’s contract.

“The results over a number of weeks, eleven games without a win, has impacted all concerned and immediate changes needed to be made. The Club’s interests are paramount, but the Board are nevertheless disappointed to see Chris Powell leave.

“Head of the Club’s highly successful Academy, Ricky Duncan, will take temporary charge of the first team squad.”

A Relegation Dogfight Like No Other

It’s certainly been an underwhelming campaign for the Blues. Since promotion from the fourth tier in 2015, Southend have achieved 14th, seventh and tenth placed finishes. Not many people may have expected them to be fighting relegation, but they’re stuck in an extraordinary dogfight. Gillingham sit in 12th place, but they’re just five points off the danger zone. AFC Wimbledon were previously cut adrift at the bottom, but the appointment of Wally Downes has inspired them to a run of six wins in 12 games – including a stunning victory over West Ham in the FA Cup. The Dons are now just three points off Southend.

The Essex club’s barren spell has included recent defeats against fellow strugglers Scunthorpe and AFC Wimbledon. The news of Powell’s sacking comes after Scunthorpe parted company with Stuart McCall. The Iron suffered a 3-1 reverse at Rochdale on Saturday, and McCall was dismissed after the match.

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