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Southend United's Mark Phillips set for return against Morecambe
MARK Phillips looks set to return to Southend United’s clash with Morecambe at Roots Hall tomorrow.
The 31-year-old centre-back has missed Blues’ last three games with a groin problem.
But, with the on loan Adam Thompson on international duty with Northern Ireland’s under 21 team, Phillips is in line to come back in alongside Luke Prosser at the heart of the back four.
And boss Phil Brown is not concerned by Phillips’ fitness levels.
“Mark was maybe a fitness worry to start with but he’s had a good week in training and hopefully he’ll come through fine today and be available for selection,” said Brown.
“I offered him the chance to play in the development match we had at Oxford this week to maybe get 65 or 70 minutes but he declined that and came in for training instead.
“He trained Wednesday as well when the rest of the boys were off and fingers cross he’ll be OK for the weekend.”
If Phillips fails to recover then young defender Josh Banton could be handed his first team debut or John White could be moved in to the middle.
However, Brown is confident Phillips will be fine to figure against the Shrimps and he is also considering making changes in midfield where both Kevan Hurst and Michael Timlin are pushing hard to be included after recovering from injury.
“Tims has now played three development matches and was very, very close to playing at Wycombe last weekend,” said Brown.
“I gave Ryan (Leonard) and Conor (Clifford) another opportunity because I think it’s important not to just throw young lads in for one game.
“They need two or three to get their game going but Tims really put himself through the mill at Oxford.
“He got through tackles and almost got himself injured with a dead leg.
“He ran around and really impressed me with his attitude and mentality.
“He has that experience we’re lacking and so does Kevan Hurst.
“His distribution was second to none in this league last season and we need to get that back this year too.”
But Blues’ striker Craig Reid is a doubt after injuring his ankle at Wycombe Wanderers.