MATT Phillips might have scored nine goals in his last nine games, but it doesn’t stop him fretting about losing his place.
The winger is desperate to play in tonight’s FA Cup replay at Sheffield Wednesday (7.45jpm) because he doesn’t want anyone else coming in and stealing his thunder.
Philips may be Pool’s big star at the moment – subject of bids galore during the transfer window – but he knows the Seasiders squad is as strong as it’s ever been.
And that means missing a game is a risk because someone else may have a blinder.
Phillips, whose latest two goals helped Pool storm to a memorable victory at Cardiff, said: “I want to play the cup game. I don’t need a breather. I am only 20, so I want to play as many games as I can.
“If the manager feels he wants it give me a rest, then I’ll respect that but I am happy to play every minute of every game. That’s what I want.
“But I know the manager can change it because we have such strength in depth. We have two XIs that can go out and play in the same way.
“We all know what we are doing and how we want to play – the passing and moving – so we have two teams that can win the game.
“The manager has loads of attacking players to choose from, so the competition is fierce.
“But we are all really united. We all want the same thing – promotion and success in the FA Cup.”
It is difficult to predict who Ian Holloway will choose tonight.
Neal Eardley, Bob Harris and Angel Martinez are certain starters, while Gerardo Bruna – almost unheard of since his summer switch from Liverpool – may get a chance from off the bench.
The attack will be strong. Lomana LuaLua, an unused sub at Cardiff, could lead the line, probably alongside Kevin Phillips and Tom Ince, who didn’t start in South Wales.
Keith Southern is a major doubt but is desperate to play and will have a late fitness test on his ankle. There will be no first start for striker Roman Bednar, who is cup-tied, along with Brett Ormerod, Daniel Bogdanovic and Craig Sutherland. Ian Evatt will also sit it out as he completes a two-match suspension.
Chris Basham, so impressive at Cardiff, played in the first FA Cup game against Wednesday and, like Matt Phillips, wants to be involved again.
The 23-year-old said: “I am more than up for playing if I’m picked. The manager will select a strong side – that’s a given – because we have a fantastic squad and whoever he sends out will be able to do a job.
“The aim is to reach the semi-final because to get to Wembley would be fantastic.
“If we can get a win tonight, then we’ve got a great day to look forward to at Everton (in the fifth round) and a good opportunity to test ourselves against a Premier League team.
“I think we are good enough to beat Everton but first thing’s first – let’s win at Hillsborough.”
Admission is £10, with £5 concessions, and Pool are aiming to reach the fifth round for the first time since 1990.