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By ESPN Staff

Phillips closes in on return

Birmingham striker Kevin Phillips has targeted the local derby at West Brom in just under two weeks' time for his return to action.

Phillips, 37, suffered a torn thigh muscle injury in the pre-season friendly with Real Mallorca in early August, but he is now stepping up his fitness programme and hopes to be in contention for the Hawthorns clash on September 18.

Phillips signed a new one-year deal in the summer after impressing primarily as a substitute last season.

He told the Birmingham Mail: "The injury is fine. I'm not getting any more pain or symptoms. It's just now a case of trying to catch up on fitness, trying to tick all the boxes with the medical staff.

"We're not far away. I'd say if you're going to ask me when I will be ready, Liverpool on Sunday is probably a bit too soon. I will need at least a week's training with the lads so I'm hoping to be involved in some capacity in the West Brom game."

Phillips admits he was left frustrated by the timing of the injury a week before the start of the new campaign.

He said: "For the first two weeks after getting the injury against Mallorca, I was a nightmare. I hate being injured, especially when you've just completed pre-season. I believe I reported back as fit as anyone, as fit as I could have been, then to get injured a week before the season started is not what you want.

"I'm 37 now. I've already done one pre-season and I'm just in the middle of another one. I don't need two pre-seasons at my age!"


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