Sunderland legend Kevin Phillips emerges as favourite for Walsall job

Former Sunderland striker Kevin Phillips is on Walsall’s radar after departing his role as the manager of Northern Premier side South Shields.

Phillips guided the Mariners’ to promotion to National League North for the first time in almost 50 years.

South Shields released a club statement to confirm his departure just 30 minutes after their final league game.

“Since promotion to National League North was confirmed earlier this month, discussions over the future direction of the club have been held between Kevin and chairman Geoff Thompson.”

“It has now been decided it is in the best interests of all parties to go their separate ways as the club continues on its road to a more sustainable model.”

“Kevin departs on extremely good terms and with the best wishes of everyone connected to the club, as well as our thanks for his efforts since joining in January 2022.”

Speaking on his departure, Phillips said: ” I feel that this is the right time for me to depart for a number of reasons.”

“To be manager of South Shields has been an amazing experience and I’m very grateful for everything Geoff has done during my time at the club.”

“I’ve given my heart and soul to this club and I’m disappointed to leave, but I’ve been in football a long time and I know things can change very quickly.”

“I was brought here to do a job and I did it, and although I’d have loved to have taken it further, circumstances have changed and I’ll be supporting the club in the next phase of its journey from afar.”

Phillips is now the front-runner to take over at EFL League Two side Walsall after Michael Flynn was sacked by the Saddlers last Wednesday.

They currently sit 17th in League Two and have won only once in their previous 21 matches.

Their assistant coach, Wayne Hatswell, also departed the Bescot Stadium- leaving Mat Sadler in charge as interim manager for the remainder of the campaign.

Along with Phillips, David Artell, Karl Robinson and Owen Coyle are also in contention for the vacant manager position.