HARRY Phillips is determined to make this his breakthrough season at Southend United.

The talented 20-year-old midfielder has long been highly-rated at Roots Hall.

And Phillips - who first joined Blues in the under nines - is keen to progress into the first team this term.

“My main aim this season is to push on into the first team and be around it as much as I can,” said the Wickford-based Phillips.

“I want to make the squads and hopefully make my debut.”

Phillips was an unused substitute for the Shrimpers at AFC Wimbledon in January and is set to sign a new two-year deal after impressing for the under-23s last term.

And the midfielder is now back to full fitness after missing the end of last season with a shin problem.

“Last season I was out for three or four months with a stress injury on my shin, but I’m fully fit now and will hopefully push on,” said Phillips.

“Pre-season has been tough so far and I’m sure it will get tougher, but I’m enjoying it.

“We got all the testing done in the first couple of days we had back but the footballs were back out on Monday.

“It’s been going well, but it will be great when the games get underway too.”

Blues’ first pre-season friendly comes at Great Wakering Rovers on Saturday.

And Phillips is hoping to be given an opportunity to impress by Shrimpers boss Chris Powell.

“It would be good to play some part in the friendlies and hopefully I’ll be given a chance,” said Phillips.

“After that it’s up to me to take it and try to impress the manager.”

Phillips featured in the number 10 role during his successful spell for the Shrimpers’ youth team but was also involved out wide for the under-23s last term.

And the midfielder admits it would be a dream come true if he could work his way into the first team at Roots Hall.

“This is my 11th or 12th season at the club, so to progress into the first team would mean everything to me,” said Phillips, who was tipped as one to watch by the departing Michael Timlin earlier this summer.

“But because I’ve been here for so long I think it would mean a lot to everyone in the academy as well because I’ve come all the way through.

“Southend is also my local club and it would mean a lot to my family if I played because they’re always supporting me.”