After his second match-winning substitute appearance in eight days, Kevin Phillips is rapidly transforming from Super Kev to Super Sub.
However, it is a tag the 35-year-old is not happy with.
Phillips has yet to start a Championship game for Blues but despite his frustration he realises he must be patient and wait for his chance.
Phillips scored the winner against his former club Southampton just 15 seconds after coming on but the former Aston Villa and West Bromwich Albion striker wants to feature from the start.
“I said when I came here that one of the reasons I chose Birmingham was because I thought I would play more games but in two substitute appearances in the last two games I have played less than 30 minutes in total,” he said. “It is frustrating but I have to be patient.
“I always try my hardest when I come on and try and be in the right place at the right time, and the last two weeks have been great. I played midweek against Wycombe and I didn’t get a sniff but we scored four. It was nice to score but it is about the team winning the game.”
Phillips knows their is a bigger picture to be considered and that McLeish is fashioning a squad, and not just a team, that can clinch an instant return to the Premier League.
In Scotland internationals Garry O’Connor and James McFadden, former Everton targetman Marcus Bent and England under-21 international Cameron Jerome, McLeish has plenty of striking options and it was that strength in depth that encouraged Phillips to sign for the Blues.
Now the former England striker believes he could end his career in the Premier League with Birmingham City.
“If another year in the Premiership comes along, it comes along, but if it doesn’t I will bow out gracefully,” Phillips said. “I said when I came here I would give it my best shot for two years. One of the reasons I turned down the Premiership to come to Birmingham and that two-year contract is because I believe I will get another crack at it. Only time will tell but it is places like Southampton that we have to come to and grind out results, and that is what gets you promoted.”
Phillips did not enjoy a successful time when he was a Southampton player and he came in for some terrible abuse from the Saints fans of the most personal kind.
However, Phillips is far too experienced to let it bother him and he produced the perfect answer to the terrace jeers.
“Perhaps the Southampton fans feel I said things on my way out of here which were misinterpreted,” he said. “I think I stated when I left here that I never wanted to leave Sunderland, it wasn’t that I didn’t want to join Southampton. I was an apprentice here. I was four years as a schoolboy so I had six good years here. It is a question you have to ask them but I wish them all the best.
“It spurs me on and I would rather have it than not because if they don’t give you stick they don’t care about you.”