Phillips fears relegation hat-trick

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Veteran striker Kevin Phillips wants to avoid an unwanted hat-trick by helping to keep Birmingham in the Barclays Premier League.

Phillips has suffered the agony of being relegated from the top flight with Sunderland and Southampton during his lengthy career.

The Blues visit Tottenham on Sunday, and 37-year-old Phillips, who will be out of contract next month, said:"If this is the end of my Birmingham career, I don't want it to end with relegation. I have been relegated from the Premier League twice. It has a major knock-on effect for everyone in your personal careers."

Injury-hit Birmingham are only out of the bottom three on goal difference as they bid to stay ahead of Blackpool and Wigan, who visit Manchester United and Stoke respectively.

Phillips added: "I don't think I've been in this situation before where it is quite as tight as it is on the last day. I think at Southampton it went to the last day. But it wasn't as close as this current situation where four or five teams are still in the mix.

"But we've got plenty of experience in the dressing room that hopefully will see us through."

Phillips has challenged City to emulate their performance in winning the Carling Cup against Arsenal against Spurs.

He said: "For me, and for us, it is like the Carling Cup final now. No-one gave us any chance against Arsenal on a big pitch at Wembley but we believed we could do it.

"Although it took a mistake for us to win it, it doesn't matter, and on our overall performance we deserved to win the game and that's how we've got to approach Sunday."

Birmingham will be boosted by the return of defender Liam Ridgewell and nine goal top scorer Craig Gardner after suspension but Lee Bowyer and Martin Jiranek will have late fitness tests after suffering hamstring and ankle injuries respectively against Fulham last weekend.

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Tottenham Hotspur
Martin Jiranek
Stoke City
Lee Bowyer
Martin Jiranek
Liam Ridgewell
League Cup
Premier League
Manchester United
Wigan Athletic
Craig Gardner
Kevin Phillips

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