Phillips: Black Cats can't let up

Published:
by Stuart Vose

Legend says Poyet's men must keep their eyes on the prize.

Sunderland legend Kevin Phillips says the Black Cats need to keep the pedal to the metal as they look to secure Barclays Premier League survival.

Gus Poyet’s side meet another of Phillips’ former clubs, West Bromwich Albion, on Wednesday evening in their penultimate game of the campaign.

The win at Old Trafford was great for the club

- Kevin Phillips

A point would see the Black Cats close to safety barring a colossal swing in goal difference, while a win would mathematically secure top-flight status.

Phillips admits the club’s recent run of form has been “incredible”, with 10 points taken from the last four matches including last weekend's 1-0 victory at Manchester United.

“You’ve got to give Gus Poyet and his troops credit,” he told safc.com.

“The results they’ve pulled off at Chelsea and Manchester City gave them a fighting chance, and the win at Old Trafford was great for the club.

“It’s two home games now – they can’t take their foot off the gas and will want to get the points they need on Wednesday night.”

Phillips was speaking at Jody Craddock’s testimonial match on Bank Holiday Monday, where he turned out alongside former strike partner Niall Quinn in a Sunderland XI against Wolves.

The frontman pulled on the red and white stripes once more in support of former team-mate Craddock, who is raising money for Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

“It’s a fitting way for everyone to show their support for Jody,” said Phillips, who revelled in his pantomime villain role having enjoyed some Midlands tussles with Wolves in the past.

“He’s such a nice guy – I’ve played many times against him and many games alongside him.

“We actually signed for Sunderland together; I was by his side for five or six years at Sunderland.

“It’s always nice to catch up.”

The game was the first of the 40-year-old’s retirement after he officially brought the curtain down on a long career.

Phillips’ last game saw him lift the Championship trophy with Leicester, marking an incredible fifth promotion for the frontman.

And the former Sunderland favourite’s thoughts are now turning to the future as he contemplates life after playing.

“It was a great way to finish my career and I’ve enjoyed every minute.

“I started a long, long time ago but now it’s finished the 20 years has gone by pretty quickly.

“I’ve had an amazing career and achieved everything I wanted to. Now I’m looking forward to the new adventures which lie ahead.”