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Page last updated at 16:46 GMT, Wednesday, 4 August 2010 17:46 UK

Mark Phillips admits to Southend United fear

Mark Phillips
Phillips was released by Brentford this summer

New Southend United defender Mark Phillips has admitted he joined Paul Sturrock's side despite a certain amount of trepidation.

The Shrimpers have only been able to commit to pre-contracts this summer but Sturrock managed to allay the 27-year-old's fears.

"As a player there were concerns," Phillips told BBC Essex.

"But a manager like Paul Sturrock wouldn't be at a club if those problems weren't going to be cleared up."

He added: "I listened to what was said and put my trust into hoping the problems would go away."

Some of the uncertainty was lifted at Roots Hall on Monday when the club fended off an administration application.

Chairman Ron Martin said he was confident that all arrears could be paid throughout the season, thanks to a partnership with supermarket giant Sainsbury's, and now Phillips is happy to look forwards.

Upminster Shrimper

"When I came in I heard from the previous players what was going on," Phillips added.

"But I'm hoping it's in the past and I'm concentrating on the future."

Now Martin is focused on getting their transfer embargo lifted, meaning they can register players for the coming League Two season.

Phillips was one of 14 players to sign pre-contract terms but revealed he has now penned a full two-year contract.

The club are confident of getting their embargo lifted within the next few days, and the former Millwall man is turning his attention to what the team can achieve this season.

"The ultimate aim is promotion from League Two," he said.

"To be there or thereabouts come Christmas time and hopefully push on with the solid squad we've got."

Meanwhile it has been confirmed that winger Ryan Hall will miss the season opener against Stockport County through suspension.

The 22-year-old must serve an outstanding one-match ban from his previous club Bromley.

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