Alex McLeish warns: It is 'nigh on impossible' for Birmingham to finish in top six

21 September 2010 08:41
Alex McLeish believes it is 'nigh on impossible' for Birmingham to become an established top-six club in the Barclays Premier League.[LNB]McLeish is aware that expectation levels have risen amongst supporters after Blues finished ninth last season.[LNB]But he has echoed the thoughts of former City manager Trevor Francis, who feels a top-six berth is an unrealistic aspiration.[LNB] How can you expect us to finish in the top six? Birmingham boss Alex McLeish wants realism in the city[LNB]McLeish said: 'It is ludicrous to suggest that. It is incredible that some people think that.[LNB]'But my experiences in the game tell me it is nigh on impossible. We can all dream and have ambition but there are about eight teams in there who, over a length of the season, will always come to the fore.[LNB]'Then the rest are fighting for the other places. If we come ninth again, it will be phenomenal.[LNB]Read, white and Blue: City new boy Alexander Hleb[LNB]'I would judge that even better than last season. Finishing in the top 17 is our priority again.'[LNB]McLeish has challenged Birmingham's fringe players to show they are worthy of being amongst his first-choice selections in tonight's home Carling Cup clash with MK Dons.[LNB]The Scot will make wholesale changes with summer signings Nikola Zigic, Matt Derbyshire, Jean Beausejour and Martin Jiranek all set to start.[LNB]Keith Fahey, Michel and Alexander Hleb will also be included in the starting XI as McLeish rests several members of his current league line-up.[LNB]McLeish said: "I've got a squad of players I believe could be playing in the team every week.[LNB]'I've not got a first 11 plus 11 reserves. I've got a whole squad that can play in the Premier League.[LNB]'But the guys playing tonight have got to show what they can do and put pressure on the ones who started at the weekend.[LNB]'They've got to say 'I'll show the manager I'm worthy of a first-team place'. The gauntlet is being thrown down to these guys to show what they can do.'[LNB]Meanwhile, Birmingham striker James McFadden will undergo surgery to repair the knee ligament damage suffered during training on Friday in the next 48 hours.[LNB]McLeish confirmed: 'James will have surgery in the next couple of days and we will have a better idea of the recovery time after that.[LNB]'I think this season would have been a huge season for him. Last season was his first full season and would have strengthened him physically and psychologically as well.'[LNB] Martin Samuel: Don't be fooled by new dross idea for cosy Match of the DayBirmingham bad boy Bowyer so sorry for foul blast at Albion grandmotherWest Brom 3 Birmingham 1: Peter is a perfect derby-day destroyer Competition: Win tickets to see Birmingham v Wigan - courtesy of BarclaysBIRMINGHAM CITY FC

Source: Daily_Mail