FORMER SUNDERLAND striker Kevin Phillips has accused Hartlepool of reneging on the offer of a new contract after he was dismissed as manager of the National League club at the weekend.

Hartlepool said in a statement on Saturday that Phillips, who was appointed in January, had a contract until the end of the season and it had “come to an end”.

But a statement issued by Phillips’ representatives on Monday claimed the former striker had been offered a new two-year contract on the basis of his “agreed milestones having been achieved.”

The statement added: “Last week.. Kevin was surprised to learn that the contract option had been withdrawn and that he was being relieved of his duties as head coach with immediate effect.

"Kevin was looking forward to continuing his stay at Hartlepool and the challenges that lay ahead."

Hartlepool won seven games out of 16 during Phillips’ tenure but missed out on a place in the play-offs by 11 points. He was immediately replaced by former Woking boss Darren Sarll.

Phillips said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed working at Hartlepool United and with all the existing staff there.

"The club has terrific support and an established fanbase to be proud of, which always made matchdays a pleasure.

“I had wished to continue the journey with everyone and build a successful team together. I leave with fond memories and shall continue to follow the club's progress, hoping they can enjoy every success in the future."

Hartlepool were not immediately available for comment when contacted by PA news agency.