KEVIN Phillips is convinced that Blackpool can give him a new lease of life in the twilight of his career.
The 37-year-old striker made 20 appearances for Birmingham last season but still felt like a bit-part player at St Andrew’s.
Now the former England international is hoping a regular starting place at Bloomfield Road will see him add to his 279 career goals.
Phillips told The Gazette: “I’ve got to repay the faith the manager and Blackpool have shown in me.
“Not many teams would give me a contract at my age but I still believe I can score goals at this level.
“Last season in the Premier League I showed that I have the fitness. I am hoping to start a lot of games this season and chip in with quite a few goals. I hope this move can give me a new lease of life.”
Phillips made his first start for the Seasiders in Tuesday’s 2-0 defeat by Rangers and the striker was pleased with how things went.
He said: “It’s always difficult to make your debut for a new club, especially when you’re playing the Scottish champions, but it went well. It was a good workout for us.
“We are disappointed to concede two sloppy goals – we felt we were well in the game up to that point. We were matching them for fitness but they have that extra yard of sharpness from the games they’ve played.”
“It was a little bit frustrating at times. I had a few little touches here and there but I would have liked more.
“ I’m not too concerned, though. As a group we’re gaining fitness and it was good to make my debut at Bloomfield Road.
“I’ve played here a few times and scored a few goals against Blackpool, so I’m looking forward to starting the season on a flyer and scoring a few goals for the club.”
The Blackpool players are no strangers to the vastly experienced star, who watched them regularly last season as part of Sky’s commentary team.
And after hearing all the stories about Ian Holloway’s style of management, he jumped at the chance to sign on at Bloomfield Road.
He revealed: “You hear a lot of people talking about Ian Holloway and how he is with his players, and he hasn’t let me down.
“He’s so knowledgeable about football, so enthusiastic, and that rubs off on the players.
“I’ve enjoyed every minute of it so far and I can’t wait for the season.
“It’s been interesting and lively every day in training so far – it’s just what I wanted at this stage of my career.
“The morale and attitude in the squad is first class, everyone is together.
“When I came here working for Sky last season, I got a sense of the spirit and quality that was here and I’m sure we’ll add to that in the coming weeks. We have to give ourselves the best chance of promotion.”
Despite spending most of his career in the Premier League, Phillips is no stranger to life in the Championship.
His goals have fired both Sunderland and West Brom to promotion to the top flight and he sees no reason why he can’t repeat that for Blackpool this season.
“It’s vitally important for a club like Blackpool that we bounce back into the Premier League,” he added.
“It will be difficult but we have a squad well capable of doing that this season.”