BEN Coker will make his 200th appearance for Southend United tomorrow - five years after fearing he had no future in football.

Coker has established himself as one of the best left-backs in the lower leagues since signing for the Shrimpers.

But upon arriving at Roots Hall - originally on trial back in 2013 - the defender had doubts what might happen.

“I had been rejected a few times and it hit me hard,” said Coker, who had been released by Cambridge and Colchester United during the early part of his career.

“I spoke to my mum and dad and I wasn’t sure I could keep going because it was just the same old thing all the time.

“Before Colchester I had been working on a building site and that could have been an option again.

“But I came to Southend on trial and at that point I was just looking to get back into the League.

“It was the toughest part of my career but you just have to be mentally strong and keep going because if you do then you can achieve stuff in the game.

“Being honest, when I first arrived here I could never have dreamed of playing 200 games but I’m really proud to have achieved it.”

Coker had been playing non-league football at Histon before teaming up with the Shrimpers.

But the left-back was soon offered a contract by the then Blues boss Phil Brown and immediately started to make a big impression.

And, in his second season with the club, Coker was a leading figure in the Shrimpers winning promotion via the League Two play-offs, an achievement which tops his time at Roots Hall.

“Winning at Wembley like we did was one of the best days of my life,” said Coker.

“That whole season was special because it was a special group of lads.

“The play-off final was one definite highlight but there have been a few to be honest.

“We had a cup run in my first season and coming back from the injuries has been good for me too.”

Coker has bounced back from serious injury setbacks with the Shrimpers but still hopes to secure more highlights.

“Promotion is the main target,” said the 29-year-old.

“We’ve been trying for three of four years in this League now and it’s our aim.

“We need this club to get up and I would love to play in the Championship.”

However, Coker will be hoping to line-up there at left-back and not in goal where he ended up against Charlton Athletic following Mark Oxley’s red card.

“It was nerve-wracking and I didn’t really enjoy it so I was just preying the ball didn’t come near me,” said Coker.

“I saw a few pictures and I looked tiny in the net so hopefully it won’t happen again.

“I’ve battered keepers before but I understand it’s not a nice position now. I’m happy where I am.”