ALEX Baptiste saluted Kevin Phillips as the best finisher he has ever seen.
The 38-year-old frontman smashed a brace to sink Brighton and take his tally for the season to 15.
And Baptiste was suitably impressed. “I just can’t believe what I see him do sometimes,” said the defender. “He is definitely the best finisher I have ever seen.
“I have never seen him just smash it or try to leather it. He places the ball, yet he does it with power, which is a really difficult technique to master.
“He is just superb in front of the net and he looks like he can go on for another few years yet.”
The players don’t see Phillips until Thursday each week.
The 38-year-old has his own special training regime and does most of his work at home in the Midlands.
Baptiste added: “He doesn’t train as often as the other lads but it doesn’t seem to matter because he is in fantastic shape. He is one of the fittest in the squad.
“A few days a week he does his own thing, then he just turns up and shows how good he is.
“His goals this year have helped us no end. In the run-up to the Brighton game he was voted the seventh-best player in the Championship, which just speaks volumes for the man.
“He is a fantastic professional. Look at the games he has played this season and the goals he has scored – whatever his training is, it is working for him.”
Manager Ian Holloway admitted he is running out words to describe a striker who joined Pool on a free transfer after leaving Birmingham last summer.
The boss said: “Watch that final thing he does – he hits through the ball and by the time he looks up it is normally in the net.
“He strikes it so clean with his left, his right and with his head. He puts everything through the middle of the ball.
“I’m sure he is the same on a golf course. Apparently he hardly ever goes in the bushes and it goes a long way down the middle. That is because he keeps his head still at the right time and strikes through it.
“There is no doubt he is one of the best players I’ve ever had.”