Crewe Alexandra: Competition for number one spot is good for club, says Steve Phillips
STEVE Phillips says Crewe can only benefit from the fierce competition for the number one jersey.
The 34-year-old has been back between the sticks for the past three games after getting a chance when previous ever-present Alan Martin was ruled out by illness.
It is role reversal with Martin needing to be patient and wait for an opportunity now Phillips is back in possession of the gloves.
Phillips said: "I had a problem with my knee in the summer which gave Alan a chance and he's done very well. I only got a chance because he was ill.
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"The club is in a very healthy position with goalkeepers with Alan and Ben Garratt. We're competitive and we get on with each other very well. It's a tight-knit little group.
"From my point of view with my coach's hat on, whoever steps in and does the business then it's job done, they keep the shirt. Luckily that's me at the moment.
"I've had three games in a week and since not playing at Wembley in May it's taking its toll a bit on my hip and my groin, but I'm not ruling myself out by any means."
Crewe will go in search of their third win on the bounce when they take on Stevenage at home on Saturday.
They might have to do it without Brad Inman, whose initial one-month loan from Newcastle United expired yesterday, although Crewe are expected to negotiate an extension.
The right result could see them go level with Swindon, MK Dons and Bournemouth in the League One play-off zone.
With eight wins in their last 12 games, Phillips cannot believe the Alex are not in the top six already.
That is no small feat for a team which was sitting 15th in League Two just 12 months ago.
Phillips said: "There is a big difference between League One and League Two.
"I've played most of my career in League One and there is a big step up.
"The team last year was brilliant and Steve Davis has been very clever to bring in some great people to build his squad. A couple of signings might have raised eyebrows, but they have been quality.
"I can't believe we are not in the play-offs. We keep winning, but every week we are not in there just yet."
Only eight points separate second-placed Sheffield United and Crewe, in 10th, after the opening 25 games of the season.
And Phillips is not surprised it is the Railwaymen who sit top of the form table.
He said: "In the second half (in a 1-0 win over Carlisle on New Year's Day) I thought we were not too fluent, but overall we've got to be very pleased.
"We are a good team, that's why we've been doing well. When you've got a good team that consistency level is going to be there.
"We lost at Tranmere on Boxing Day, but they are top of the league and the outlook for us is very good.
"We've got some tough games coming up, but we've just come through some tough games doing ok so we're looking forward to them. There is massive belief inside this football club."