Phil Brown: Southend boss targets Premier League return

Southend boss Phil Brown consoles his Wycombe counterpart Gareth Ainsworth after the Shrimpers' play-off triumph

Southend United boss Phil Brown has said he wants to be a Premier League manager again after winning the League Two play-offs with the Shrimpers.

The 55-year-old's side beat Wycombe 7-6 on penalties at Wembley to earn promotion to League One.

"I've got ambitions and those ambitions remain, I want to have a stab at the Premier League again," said Brown, who took Hull to the top flight in 2008.

"I've been lucky to get four jobs in my career, some guys only get the one."

Brown, who has also managed Derby and Preston, has been in charge at Roots Hall since March 2013.

On Saturday he achieved his first promotion with the Essex club in dramatic circumstances, after Joe Pigott's equaliser in injury time of extra-time sent the game to a penalty shootout, which was decided when Southend keeper Daniel Bentley saved Sam Wood's effort.

If at first you don't succeed...
It was third time lucky for Southend, having lost in the play-offs twice in the previous three seasons - in 2014 to Burton and in 2012 to Crewe

Brown and Wycombe boss Gareth Ainsworth watched the whole of the shootout standing side-by-side on the touchline.

"Gareth asked me before the penalties if we would go hand-in-hand [watching the penalties] because you can run up the line and lose your dignity a bit," said Brown.

"That shows you the class of the man."

Ainsworth & Brown
At one point during the shootout Ainsworth put his head against Brown's chest as the tension mounted.

Brown also reserved high praise for his keeper Bentley, whose penalty save ended the Shrimpers' five-year stay in the fourth tier.

The 21-year-old broke a club record by keeping 10 consecutive home clean sheets earlier this season.

"We've won games 1-0 this year when we didn't deserve it. He'll play higher, there's no doubt about it," said Brown.

"Hopefully he'll give us at least a year in League One. Our intention is to keep him. He'll learn from today, the experience as a 21-year-old is just phenomenal."

Southend United players celebrate winning the penalty shootout
Southend's players react to Daniel Bentley's penalty save which secured promotion

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