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Impact substitute Phillips keeps fit in Birmingham reserves

Birmingham boss Alex McLeish has made it clear that veteran striker Kevin Phillips will not start regularly this season but he still feels there is an important role for him to play from the subs bench. Phillips therefore intends to build up his fitness by playing for the reserves so he can make an impact for the Blues off the substitutes' bench.

The 36-year-old insists he will soldier on for Birmingham's second string if necessary and make himself ready for when he is called upon by McLeish.

"I'd imagine further chances will come off the bench," Phillips told the Birmingham Mail.

"I think the manager has already said I won't be starting many games this year so I've just got to keep myself bright and keep that enthusiasm for when I do come off the bench.

"All I can do is use reserve games to try and get my match fitness. Hopefully that will stand me in good stead for when I do come off the bench.

"Where I am at the stage of my career, the amount of first-team games that I've played, for me to play in the reserves, yes, I'll be honest, part of me finds it difficult but that is part of the game.

"I'd rather be playing first-team football but that is limited options, so reserve games are the games when I've got to try and get my match fitness. I'll continue to do that."

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