KEVIN Phillips has made up his mind to spend his last season as a footballer at Blackpool.
The striker would prefer to bring the curtain down on a glorious career with one more year in the Premier League.
But if Pool fail to find a way past West Ham on Saturday, he will hide his disappointment, roll his sleeves up and try and help the Seasiders win promotion next year.
Phillips said: “The club have taken their option up on me, so come what may I’ll be playing for Blackpool next season.
“If it was in the Premier League it would be fantastic. By the time the season kicks off I’ll be 39, so it would be nice to have one more crack at that level and then call it a day.
“I believe I can still score goals in that league and then it would be great to hang my boots up at the top. But if it doesn’t happen, I will have another crack next year in the Championship and try to help the team get promoted again.”
Phillips will almost certainly play a part from the bench at Wembley.
He would love to start, but accepts that the team has been in terrific form of late and that the manager can’t change things.
Phillips has more than done his job already, though, scoring some crucial goals.
His tally stands at 17 for the season, which he reckons is a lot more than most thought he would bag.
He added: “I am pretty sure that when I signed here, there probably wasn’t one supporter in the ground who believed I was capable of scoring 10 goals or completing 90 minutes. I have certainly proved a lot of people wrong. All players look on fans’ message-boards when they sign for a new club – you’d be lying if you said you didn’t.
“You also look at the local paper to see what the reaction is, so you get to know how people are feeling about you.
“So I know there were one or two doubters, people who wondered if I might be too old to score goals and play matches on a regular basis.
“But that didn’t bother me. I have been used to it for so long, and the bottom line is that I believed I would score goals.
“The season has gone the way I expected really – play a few, then get rested for a few, come on and change a game sometimes.
“To score 17 goals has been great. It’s not bad for an old man, as people keep telling me.”