Alex McLeish is hoping the fear of losing their place will bring the best out of his Birmingham players after the recent influx of new signings.
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 the home clash with Liverpool.
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. With Ben Foster and Nikola Zigic signed earlier in the summer, McLeish has the kind of competition he craves.
McLeish said: "There's a good spirit in the dressing room. I've said that time and time again since I came here. It's been evident again this season, although we've got new players and we're trying to integrate them.
"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. The thing that motivated me most was the fear of losing my place and I hope the players here can respond in the same manner."