Southend United's Mark Phillips to risk wrath of family and friends against Millwall

Mark Phillips - taking on his former Millwall side at Roots Hall this weekend

Mark Phillips - taking on his former Millwall side at Roots Hall this weekend

First published in Sport by

MARK Phillips will risk the wrath of his family and friends by helping Southend United knock Millwall out of the FA Cup at Roots Hall tomorrow.

The Shrimpers host the Lions in the third round of the competition.

And it will be a special afternoon for Phillips who spent 12 years with Millwall at the start of his career and also grew up supporting the club.

“I first joined Millwall when I was 13 and I went on to have some great times there,” recalled Phillips.

“I signed my first ever professional contract there when Mark McGee was manager and played quite regularly under Dennis Wise.

“I was part of the squad that made the FA Cup final and we had a real crack at trying to get in to the Premier League too “I’m from the area as well so I class myself as a Millwall fan and my dad definitely does.

“I would like to think he would put family before his team this weekend but most of my friends have been asking for tickets in the away end so I’m not too sure about them.”

Phillips again looks set to line up at the heart of the back four for Blues after working his way back in to the starting line-up.

The 31-year-old lost his place after being shown a soft red card against Dagenham & Redbridge and was forced to spend 11 games on the sidelines as Rob Kiernan struck up an impressive partnership with Luke Prosser.

But, with Kiernan having now returned to Wigan Athletic, Phillips has been restored to the team and is keen to make up for lost time.

“It was frustrating not playing especially as it was a very harsh red card which cost me my place,” said the centre-back.

“I couldn’t really complain because the team was winning and when that happens you don’t change things.

“However, I’ve got my chance again now and it’s up to me to try and take it.”

Phillips’ next chance will come against Millwall for whom he made 74 first team appearances.

And he would like to see his former team-mate Neil Harris succeed in the role of Lions manager, just not this weekend.

“Neil was a big character around the place when he was with us at Southend and it’s funny how it’s worked out with him now going to be manager against us,” said Phillips.

“I’m glad to see he’s got the chance and it will be a strange one for him as well what with him being a Southend fan.

“I obviously hope he does well and that Millwall start to pick up some good results, but only after we’ve played them."

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