FIT again Mark Phillips is keen to help Southend United continue their impressive recent defensive record.

Blues have secured five clean sheets in their last eight games.

And, having now recovered from a groin problem, Phillips wants to play a part in shutting out opposition strikers.

“We’ve had a good defensive record recently and can hopefully keep that going now,” said Phillips, 30.

“I don’t think we’ve been doing anything differently to stop the goals going in and I actually think we’ve been defended well all season.

“You can’t control all the variables though and opposing teams are always going to get one or two chances you can’t do anything about.

“But we’ve worked hard as a team to be better defensively and we’ve all been pleased with how things have been going.”

As well as the clean sheets, Phillips has also been buoyed by returning to action.

The centre-back was only able to make one start in six weeks after suffering a groin injury against Gillingham in mid-September.

And he is delighted to now be back playing without any pain.

“Ever since I came back in for the Stockport game I’ve been feeling really good again,” said Phillips.

“Before then it wasn’t nice having to miss matches and I was in agony when I came back too soon to play against Aldershot.

“Things have settled down now though and I’m enjoying being back out there again.”

Phillips’ last appearance came against Port Vale last Saturday when Blues held their promotion pushing opponents to a 0-0 draw.

But the centre-back felt his side deserved more than a share of the spoils.

“It was a tough game but I thought we did well and had more than enough chances to win the match,” said Phillips.

“We played well and I think we’re starting to look a stronger side again now.

“I also think we have more confidence about us as well and we will need that for what will be a hard game at Torquay United on Saturday.”