Kevin Phillips could become the Seasiders super sub, Ian Holloway has revealed he’s had a chat with the frontman about his role at the club for the remainder of the season.
And while Phillips’ form and goal-scoring record will ultimately decide just how much football he plays, it appears Holloway and the striker agree that the 38-year-old won’t be starting every game.
Holloway said: “I wouldn’t go as far as to say he’d be happy (with a substitute’s role), but he is 38. We have had a chat and he has looked at things.
“I played him an awful lot of the start of the season, and he did really well.
“I can play him sometimes, I can rest him on other occasions – it is entirely down to me.
“I have got to try to use him as I see fit and how he sees fit.
“I’m not so sure that if I play him for 90 minutes Saturday-Tuesday, Saturday-Tuesday, I am going to see the best of him.
“I think whatever cameo performances he does give me, he’ll still score the same amount of goals because that is what he does.
“He is an absolute machine, and the most important thing is that we make sure we continue to give him chances.”
After starting the first 11 league games, Phillips has been on the bench since the 3-1 defeat at Burnley in October.
He is likely to be among the substitutes again at Southampton on Saturday, although he will be desperate to play some part against the club who signed him for £3.25m in 2003.
Phillips scored 23 goals in 49 games over two years with the Saints before moving to Aston Villa.
Every manager he’s played for has been a big fan and it is no different at Blackpool – Holloway loves him.
He describes the frontman as a “fantastic advert for his profession”, and you only have to examine Phillips’ daily routine for proof of his commitment – he makes a 240-mile round trip to Pool’s Squires Gate training ground each day.
Phillips said: “I still live in the Midlands, not far from Birmingham.
“I’ve been there for six years now and my family are settled.
“It means the alarm clock goes off at 6.10am each day and it can be hard, but I think that shows my commitment to the club.
“To be honest, it’s not really a problem for me because I quite enjoy the drive – it gives you time to think of plenty of things.
“I’m clocking up the miles in the car and some managers don’t like you to travel that far, but we’ve got a great gaffer here, and as long as you’re producing the goods and training hard it’s not a problem.”
Phillips – the only English winner of the European Golden Boot (after scoring 30 Premier League goals for Sunderland in the 1999-2000 campaign) – remains the Seasiders’ top scorer, despite a lack of recent starts.
He has seven goals – one more than the departed Jonjo Shelvey – but feels he should have more.
“I feel that with the chances I’ve had I could have been sitting on nine or ten, but that’s being a little over-critical of myself, which I always am,” he said.
“I’ve got seven goals in 15 starts, and that’s one in every two games, which is what I’ve done throughout my career.”
Whether from the start or off the bench, chances are that Phillips will increase that tally before the season is out.