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PHILLIPS MAKES BITTERSWEET RETURN TO STARTING XI

15 November 2021

Youngster Harry Phillips had a bittersweet return to the side as Southend United fell to a 2-0 defeat to Woking at Roots Hall on Saturday.

The midfielder was making his second start under new head coach Kevin Maher, after finding himself out of the team against Chesterfield due to injury.

Blues found themselves a goal down in the 22nd minute after Tahvon Campbell scored his 10th goal of the campaign for Woking, and the attacking midfielder felt his side left it too late to get going.

"It’s pleasing to be back in the team but it’s a disappointing result,” said Phillips.

"We started the game quickly, but we needed to be braver on the ball. It wasn’t until we went a goal down that we decided to have a go. It’s too late by then, I think.”

Blues did show some signs of getting back into the game and Phillips felt things could have ended differently.

"I think we did maybe deserve a point. We started the second half well, had a few chances and it just didn’t go for us."

Woking provided a physical threat on the afternoon which seemed to make the difference between the two sides. Yet this did not take Phillips by surprise.

"We knew what we were coming up against today. We analysed them and they did [their jobs] well. We should’ve dealt with it better."

Blues were backed by almost 6,000 fans and Phillips was keen to apologise to the Essex faithful.

"That’s the most disappointing thing. We were at home, we wanted to take all three points. Everyone’s so disappointed.

"The fans are brilliant, they want to come and see us play attractive football and personally, I’m sorry we couldn’t get all three points."

The midfielder made his second start under Maher and felt the number of players fighting for a start will benefit the club.

"We’ve got a competitive squad, especially in the midfield.

"Every game you have to be on top of your game to keep your shirt, that’s the way I think it should be.

"We see every day in training we’ve got what it takes- we just have to show it on a matchday."

Kevin Maher returned to the club after previous work with the Blues academy, and Phillips was relishing having his former U23s gaffer back at club.

"I’ve worked with Kev before. He loves the club and I think he’s the right man to take us forward. Kev was good with me; I just need to carry on working hard and showing good performances to stay in the team."

Southend travel to Grimsby Town on Friday, hoping to return to winning ways. The Mariners were relegated alongside Blues but have endured a much better campaign so far, finding themselves third despite losing their last four games.

"It’ll be a tough trip," said Phillips. "But we’re not scared of anyone in this league and we’re going to have to go there and match them, hopefully our quality can shine through."


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