Lancaster boss Mark Fell is a little puzzled by South Shields' decision to sack Graham Fenton and install Kevin Phillips

Mark Fell will – weather permitting – pit his wits against a former England international this weekend in the shape of new South Shields manager Kevin Phillips.
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The ex-Premier League forward scored nearly 250 goals during his career, with more than 100 of those strikes coming in Sunderland colours.

He also played for Watford, Aston Villa and West Bromwich Albion and made eight appearances for the Three Lions.

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Phillips has been entrusted in guiding the hugely ambitious Mariners to promotion after taking over from previous boss Graham Fenton.

South Shields boss Kevin PhillipsSouth Shields boss Kevin Phillips
South Shields boss Kevin Phillips

Fell revealed he was a big fan of Phillips as a player but is slightly surprised he’s taken over as manager of Shields, especially as Fenton had the club firmly in the NPL Premier Division title race.

The Mariners are currently in second spot in the table – just one point off the top. It is Phillips’ first managerial role and although he won his first two games in charge, Shields have only won one of their last four fixtures.

“Personally I thought they were out of order sacking Graham Fenton,” said Fell, who has tipped Shields to win the title.

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“I guess that’s an owner thing. He is throwing loads of money at it and is growing impatient. I get that and I understand that.

“Sometimes you reap what you sow and I know they have a big name in there now but what is to tell us that Kevin Phillips, the wonderful footballer, is going to do a better job as manager than Graham Fenton?

“It just seems a little bit of an egotistical appointment.

“Don’t get me wrong, he might do great and I will be the first to hold my hand up.

“But to exchange Graham Fenton who has got a pedigree and experience at this level, they were second in the league and it just smacks of an opinion that they believe that thye shouldn’t be at this level.

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“I have always said the sooner they go out of this division the better, but I think everybody has shown that South Shields are beatable.”

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