McLeish hints at Phillips role

Posted Thursday, February 04, 2010 by PA

Birmingham boss Alex McLeish has hinted veteran striker Kevin Phillips will have a bigger role to play during the second half of the season.

Phillips has seldom featured during the opening half of the campaign with McLeish opting for the Cameron Jerome-Christian Benitez partnership. But McLeish is set to provide more opportunities to Phillips once he has recovered from a minor groin problem.

"During the transfer window, I had the names put forward to me of many players who are in their 30s. I suddenly thought 'hang on a minute, I've already got Kevin Phillips here at Birmingham' - and he is still a terrific player with more ability than the names put to me," said McLeish

"Because of the way we have played, he hasn't really had a look-in so far this season and, as you would expect, he is disappointed he hasn't featured as much as he would have liked.

"Any player worth his salt, and Kevin is one of those, wants to play. But there is every chance Kevin will have more game-time and make a contribution. Kevin has been a proven scorer throughout his career, is a proven goalscorer at Premier League level, and he will be eager to take his chance when it comes."

McLeish is adamant he is "not blaming anyone" after failing to sign a top quality striker during the January transfer window.

Blues were unsuccessful in attempts to land Tottenham's Roman Pavlyuchenko and Sunderland's Kenwyne Jones. McLeish is confident the substantial funds provided by new owner Carson Yeung will still be available to spend in the summer.

McLeish said: "I was disappointed (not to sign a striker) but I'm not blaming anyone for that because we courted a few players as you know.

"I am sure the money will still be there in the summer. The board tried to help me sign some big players in this last window.

"We prepared well for the January window. Unfortunately, the players we really courted, we weren't able to bring in. We will now get on with identifying more of the type of players we want to bring to Birmingham to help us make progress."

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