MARK Phillips reckons Southend United are better equipped to maintain a push for promotion than in recent campaigns.
The Shrimpers have faded badly after making a promising start in their last two seasons.
But Phillips, who has been with Blues since 2010, is certain Phil Brown’s side will not make the same mistake this time around.
“I think this current side we have here is a lot more organised and everyone knows their jobs inside out so it increases the chances of us doing well,” said Phillips, 30.
“Team spirit has always been good at the club but it’s never been as good as it is at the moment and that will also help us.
“We saw that on Saturday when we came back from going behind against Plymouth and that will also stand us in good stead, so I’m certainly confident we can stay right up there for the whole season this time.”
Southend are currently fifth in the League Two table and sit just two points below the automatic promotion places after just one defeat in their last 13 matches.
Their last two campaigns saw them miss out on promotion after finishing fourth in 2011/12 and 11th last season.
This weekend sees the Shrimpers taking on fellow high-flyers Chesterfield at Roots Hall.
And Phillips cannot wait to take on the Spireites.
“These are the type of games you want to be involved in, it’s a really big game and one we’re really looking forward to,” said the centre-back.
“We’ve had two good games against them already this season so we know we’re in for a tough afternoon.
“But hopefully we can get another good result and climb even higher up the table.”
Phillips is also keen to help Southend maintain their promising form by rediscovering his scoring touch in front of goal.
The former Millwall man has failed to hit the back of the net in 20 appearances this season and is now determined to end his longest barren spell since joining Blues.
“I’ve chipped in with a few goals since being at Southend and it’s about time I did the same again,” admitted Phillips.
“I want to start getting some goals, sooner rather than later as well.”
Phillips had hoped to score against Plymouth Argyle last weekend in his 100th appearance for the club.
But he was still thrilled to have clocked up a century of games for the Shrimpers.
“It was really nice to get to 100 games for Southend and it’s an achievement I’m proud of too,” said Phillips.
“I wanted to pop up with a goal to make it extra special but we did well to come back and get a point and we now want to go and build on it.”