MARK Phillips is relishing his first return to Roots Hall when AFC Wimbledon take on Southend United tonight.

The centre-back joined the Dons during the summer after being released by Blues at the end of last season.

And the defender heads back to his former club insisting he holds no hard feelings against them.

“There’s no animosity on my behalf and I’m looking forward to coming back and seeing everyone again,” said Phillips.

“I’m still in touch with a few of the lads but we haven’t really been talking about the game.

“There hasn’t been any banter flying around at this stage but I would imagine it will start once the game is over.”

Phillips spent four seasons with the Shrimpers before his departure but he has now settled in with the Dons.

And he expects his new side to surprise a few people this season.

“We’re all quietly optimistic about what we can achieve,” said the 32-year-old.

“I’ve been really impressed by our up and coming manager (Neal Ardley). His training sessions have been excellent and so have his tactics.

“We have real quality in our dressing room and have been playing some good stuff.

“But we’re only taking things one game at a time and of course it will be a difficult game tonight.”

Phillips is expected to start the game on the bench after starting just one of AFC Wimbledon’s first three matches of the season.