Phillips has committed to another 12 months to Brum.
Big Eck said: "I'm aware that if Kev comes on and partners Nikola that comparisons will inevitably be made of when he played up front with Niall (Quinn) in those Sunderland glory days.
"That was a long time ago when Kev was in his prime but he has still got a great technique and so that partnership is an option.
"We are looking to continue to develop and strengthen the squad and the infrastructure at the club but it's also a season for me not to take any chances. I'm looking to bring in players that I know - and that's another reason why it's great to still have Kev as part of things."