West Bromwich Albion striker Kevin Phillips has revealed his intention to join Derby County.
The striker, currently on holiday, spoke to sources close to The Birmingham Post about his future at Albion and said that Pride Park looks the favourite venue for him to continue his career now that talks with the Baggies had stalled.
Ideally the 34-year-old would like to stay in the Black Country, where he has recently bought a house and moved his family, but long-running talks over a new two-year deal at The Hawthorns seem unlikely to be resolved.
His representatives - who this week revealed that a prospective move to Leeds United was nonsense - have been in talks with Albion for months but they have negotiated only a 12-month contract offer from chairman Jeremy Peace, with the option of a further year dependent on appearances.
Phillips wants a definitive two-year deal, like that being offered by Derby, who have already secured the services of another former Albion striker, Nathan Ellington, who has joined The Rams on-loan next season from Watford.
The striker’s revelation comes in the same week that manager Tony Mowbray spelled out his Premier League vision, which one suspects will need refocusing should Zoltan Gera and Phillips, who scored 22 Championship goals last season, leave the club as expected this summer.
Either way, Mowbray says his side will not be in the top flight simply to make up the numbers and will take heart from the last time he successfully made the leap from the Coca-Cola Championship hopefuls to the Premier League contenders.
The 44-year-old helped guide Ipswich Town to fifth as player/coach in their first season in the top flight in 2001, a season which led to George Burley being named manager of the year and the Tractor Boys ensuring qualification for the UEFA Cup.
Mowbray said: “During that season we won 1-0 at Liverpool.
“Finishing 17th next term will not be deemed a successful season for us. First and foremost, I don’t set myself targets and I don’t like it when club officials, managers and players talk about finishing 17th.
“I take each game as an individual challenge and I honestly feel we can win football matches next season.
“The great test for me will be the mental strength of the team.
“Make no mistake, we will lose games. There will be times when we will lose three on the bounce. It’s up to us how we react to that fourth game.
“I don’t think it’s the right mentality to say ‘we want to finish fourth-bottom’. If that happens, then so be it.
“But there are a dozen teams in the league that, every time we play them home or away, we know we have a chance of winning a football match.”
“My message to the side will be to find an angle or a hook that motivates us every time we play a team so we can try and be better than that team.
“We have to believe that we can go to, say, Tottenham or Arsenal, and if they’re not 100 per cent on their game, maybe we can beat them.”