SOUTHAMPTON are today expected to step up their bid to land Matt Phillips.
Reports on the South Coast claim the Saints are set to table a £6m bid for the 21-year-old Blackpool winger.
The Scotland international remained on the bench in last night’s 3-1 friendly win over Australia at Hibernian, where clubmate Matt Gilks won his long-awaited first cap.
The Blackpool keeper came on after 22 minutes, shortly after the Aussies’ equaliser, at Hibernian’s Easter Road Ground.
Gilks made a fine one-handed save from Luke Wilshire in the second half to protect his clean sheet.
The move for Phillips came just days after Blackpool boss Ian Holloway pledged to report an unidentified club he claimed made an illegal approach for Phillips.
Southampton boss Nigel Adkins said: “It’s a shame that Blackpool have had to go and do things via the media in the way that they have done.
“I don’t think there is any hiding from the fact that Matt is a player that we have been an admirer of for the past few years, and I think in the last couple of weeks he has probably been identified as a target for a number of teams in the Premier League.
“I know that from the chairman’s point of view he has been in contact with the Blackpool chairman and that we have had a conversation with their chief executive, and I have spoken to Ian Holloway myself, so it’s not as if there has not been an interest demonstrated from Southampton.
“As I have said, we like to think that we do everything properly, by the book and we will continue to do our matters privately and behind the scenes.
“Obviously this situation has now arisen and we will take action on that and respond in the appropriate manner.”
Blackpool defender Craig Cathcart played the full 90 minutes for Northern Ireland in their 3-3 home draw with Finland.