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Signings boost for Southend United
MARK Phillips has agreed to sign a new two-year deal at Southend United.
The 30-year-old centre-back was voted player of the year at Roots Hall last year.
And, in a further boost for Blues, winger Kevan Hurst is today expected to complete his free transfer switch to the club — much to the delight of manager Paul Sturrock.
“Mark was our standout performer last season so to get him agreed is great news, and so is signing Kevan,” said Sturrock.
“Mark was rightly our player of the year and we will be looking for him to do even better next season.
“He had a torrid time with injuries during his first year but, touch wood, he seems to be over that now, and he will again play a big part next year.
“With him and Chris Barker now done we are gradually getting everything in order for next season.”
Phillips impressed at both ends of the pitch last term and was a constant threat from set pieces, scoring eight times.
That helped Blues finish fourth in the League Two table as they just missed out on automatic promotion before being beaten by Crewe Alexandra in the end of season play-offs.
Phillips remains frustrated by the defeat and is keen to avoid similar heartbreak next season.
“Now my contract has been agreed I can fully concentrate on coming back for pre-season and hopefully helping the team go one better this time,” said Phillips.
“Even though we didn’t go up last season I still really enjoyed being a part of it and I got to play a lot of games which was nice after a frustrating first year.
“I was pleased with how I performed on a personal level and I’m aiming for more of the same next season too.”
By then Phillips will be joined by Hurst who, as was revealed in Echosport last week, is closing in a move to Blues.
Hurst made 37 appearances while with League One Walsall last season before being released by the Saddlers in May.
He has also previously played for Sheffield United, Boston, Stockport, Chesterfield, Scunthorpe, Carlisle and Morecambe, and has made 279 career appearances, scoring 28 goals.