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Defender Casey Phillips explains why he left Newmarket Town to join Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division rivals Mildenhall Town

Casey Phillips had every intention of staying at Newmarket Town this summer, but following discussions with Mildenhall Town manager Ricky Cornish, he has opted to make the switch down the A11.

On a personal level the centre-back had a largely positive 2018/19 Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division campaign with the Jockeys, making 30 appearances and scoring one goal.

And he planned to build on those foundations next term, only for Cornish – who is plotting a Step 5 promotion challenge after last season’s Bostik League relegation – to intervene.

FOOTBALL: Newmarket v Clacton Casey Phillips Picture Mark Westley. (9725709)
FOOTBALL: Newmarket v Clacton Casey Phillips Picture Mark Westley. (9725709)

“I really enjoyed last season at Newmarket. It feels like they are building something there and I have no negative words for the club,” said Phillips.

“I had every intention of staying next season, even when I agreed to have a chat with Ricky. But as soon as I spoke to him I liked hearing what he had to say.

“The set up at Mildenhall is really professional and Ricky is keen to do things properly.

“I am 24 and although I have some good attributes I am not the finished article. Ricky and Colin (Vowden, assistant) played to a very good standard and I can only get better playing under them.”

Phillips is joining a club that endured a couple of tough seasons at a higher level, during which time they won just 15 league matches prior to their demotion being confirmed on Easter Monday.

Nevertheless, with the pre-season break providing Cornish – appointed in late December 2018 – with the chance to build his own squad, the new addition is expecting Mildenhall to be battling for an immediate return to Step 4.

“People might look at it as a sideways and move and while I understand Newmarket and Mildenhall are at the same level, I do not see it that way,” Phillips added.

“The goal is go back up first time and I want to be a part of that.

“If a number of the players from last year re-sign and Ricky can bring in the players he is looking at then I see no reason why we will not be right up there.

“I watched Mildenhall a few times last season and they have a great fanbase with some good players – everything is there to be challenging.”