JIMMY Phillips hopes his first goal in four years can help him cement a place in Burton Albion’s starting line-up.
The 24-year-old is now the Brewers’ longest-serving player but has never really nailed down a regular starting spot.
But he was in the right place at the right time to break the deadlock in Tuesday’s 2-0 win over Torquay United – and is desperate to start at Exeter City on Saturday.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Phillips of his third goal for Albion. “I’ve set a few up in the meantime but it’s always nicer to get on the scoresheet I think.
“I’m glad to get one and, more importantly, we got the result.”
Phillips has started three games this season as well as making four substitute appearances as he looks to get over an injury ravaged 2012/13.
His starts against Chesterfield and Torquay are his first back-to-back league starts since April, 2011.
“It’s always frustrating when you’re out of the team, trying to get back in,” he said. “If you get a run of starts your confidence gets up.
“I’ve always known I’m capable of playing good football if I get that run of games and that confidence – that’s what it’s all about.
“Hopefully now I can just keep my head down and kick on.
“I’m pushing to play every week.
“I hope the gaffer’s aware that I always give my best in training and whenever there’s a reserve game I always put 100 per cent in – and hopefully this could be a run of games where I can push on.
“I’ve been in and out for the last four years and it’s hard to get confident and get that run of games to get you going again.
“It’s been difficult.”
Phillips’ last goal for the Brewers was in their 2-1 win at Grimsby Town in October, 2009, and it was a fine finish to a team move which earned the club’s goal of the season award in their first campaign in the Football League.
“It was a team goal and it got goal of the season in the end,” said the winger. “I’m not sure that one will get goal of the season but I’ll keep my fingers crossed!
“I clipped it into Billy (Kee) and you can always guarantee he’s going to get a shot in so I followed up to pick up the bits and luckily it came to me off the post and I put it in.”
Phillips says Albion are now well-placed to push on and stay in the race for a play-off spot.
“I think we’re in a good position,” said the former Stoke City youth. “We’re just outside the play-offs. At this stage of the season, if we can get a run of games and keep winning we’ll do well.”