Phillips Eyeing Prem Farewell
Kevin Phillips hopes to earn himself a top flight swansong when Blackpool take on West Ham in Saturday's npower Championship play-off final.
- Related Content
Veteran striker Phillips will turn out for his fifth Barclays Premier League club if Ian Holloway's men can overcome the Hammers in the Wembley showpiece, having enjoyed his most productive season in front of goal since his Sunderland heyday a decade ago.
The 38-year-old, who has returned 17 goals in all competitions for the Seasiders during the present campaign, is already signed on for next term at Bloomfield Road and would ideally hang up his boots after one last stint at the pinnacle of the English game.
"By the time the season kicks off next year I'll be 39 and if it was in the Premier League I'd pretty much certainly, 99 percent, call it a day at the end and look to move on to other things," said Phillips. "I certainly believe I could score goals in that league.
"It would be great to hang my boots up at the top, but if it doesn't happen I'll still give it another crack next year and try and help the team get promoted again."
Eyebrows were raised when Phillips joined Blackpool on a free transfer from Birmingham after both clubs were relegated from the Premier League last summer, but the former England international has been only too happy to confound the doubters.
"When you sign, all players look on the message boards and read what people are saying in the local paper - they're lying if they say they don't," he said.
"You hear what people say, but it doesn't bother me. I've been used to it for so long now and I believe I can score goals.
"I think a lot of people thought my days had gone all together. I've never given up.
"I can't argue about the last two seasons of my career, especially this season because I'm pretty sure when I signed there probably wasn't one supporter in this ground who believed I could score 10 goals or complete 90 minutes.
"I've certainly proved a lot of people wrong."
Phillips is happy to give a large chunk of the credit to Tangerines boss Holloway, a manager he holds in the highest regard.
"The most important person in all this, who never gave up, was the manager," he explained. "When I spoke to him, he didn't care less how old I was.
"The one thing I will say is he's so passionate about football. I don't think I've met a manager as passionate and he expresses that passion well.
"He's an emotional guy as well, but that combination makes him an excellent manager and he certainly gets the best out of his players."
Blackpool face the daunting prospect of a West Ham side that have rattled eight goals past them over the course of two wins this season, with only one in reply - scored by Phillips from the bench.
He is expected to be a substitute once more at the national stadium, with Stephen Dobbie and Gary Taylor-Fletcher leading the Seasiders' attack magnificently during their current nine-match unbeaten run, and it is a role Alan Shearer's one-time boot boy will relish.
"This season has probably gone the way I expected - I'd play a few, be rested for a few, come on and change the game sometimes," he added.
"Scoring 17 goals isn't bad for an old man, as people keep telling me."