Blues boss pleased by competition

11 September 2010 10:10
Alex McLeish hopes the fear of losing their place will bring the best out of his Birmingham players after the recent influx of new signings.[LNB] Czech defender Martin Jiranek and former Arsenal midfielder Alexander Hleb - if he passes a late fitness test on an ankle injury - will be in contention for Sunday's home clash with Liverpool.[LNB]Chilean Jean Beausejour also arrived on transfer deadline day although he will not join his team-mates until next week as he waits for visa clearance.[LNB]With Ben Foster and Nikola Zigic signed earlier in the summer, McLeish has the kind of competition he craves.[LNB]McLeish said: "There's a good spirit in the dressing room. I've said that time and time again since I came here.[LNB]"It's been evident again this season, although we've got new players and we're trying to integrate them.[LNB]"But, as you build a team and you build a club, there's more competition for places and the players have to play to their very best level.[LNB]"The thing that motivated me most was the fear of losing my place and I hope that the players here can respond in the same manner."[LNB]McLeish anticipates Liverpool challenging near the top of the table this season under Roy Hodgson.[LNB]But he is calling on his players to repeat the impressive form they showed at home last season against the leading sides.[LNB]Blues shared the spoils at St. Andrew's with Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester City and Liverpool whom they are unbeaten against in their last eight league meetings.[LNB]McLeish said: "Barry Ferguson is right to say we fear nobody but we can't leave that in the dressing room.[LNB]"We have to go and perform against a club of Liverpool's magnitude.[LNB]"Last year we had a good campaign against the bigger clubs here at St. Andrew's, aided and abetted, of course, by a hostile crowd.[LNB]"I'm looking for the crowd to be at their very best again this season.[LNB]"I expect Liverpool to be up their fighting with the best teams for the title and for the top four, of course.[LNB]"Under Roy's tutelage I'm sure they will get better, but hopefully it takes them a couple of weeks yet!"[LNB]Veteran striker Kevin Phillips (thigh) and defender Stuart Parnaby (hamstring) remain on the sidelines due to injury.

Source: Team_Talk