Defensive boost for Birmingham

17 February 2011 03:00

Birmingham have received a double boost with defenders Martin Jiranek and Liam Ridgewell expected to be fit for the Carling Cup final.

Jiranek and Ridgewell suffered thigh and calf injuries respectively during Tuesday's home Barclays Premier League defeat to Newcastle.

The duo are doubtful for Saturday's FA Cup fifth round meeting with Sheffield Wednesday at St Andrew's, but City manager Alex McLeish expects the pair to be available to face Arsenal at Wembley on February 27.

He said: "Jiranek and Ridgewell are struggling for Saturday, but we don't believe it will affect the players in terms of being available for the cup final.

"The injuries are not serious. It is a relief because we would definitely struggling a bit for numbers if we were to lose one or two defenders.

"Defenders since the start of the season was always the worry. We didn't have enough cover. With a few days rest, they should be fine."

McLeish is already without long-term injury victim Scott Dann and the cup-tied Curtis Davies for the meeting with the Gunners.

Number two goalkeeper Maik Taylor is also expected to be fit after a shoulder problem to take his place on the bench for the final as cover for Ben Foster.

Taylor will be required as the club's other senior goalkeeper, Colin Doyle, is cup-tied after playing in the competition when on loan to Coventry earlier in the season.

McLeish said: "It is looking good for Maik with his shoulder. He did a training session today and he's on course to give Ben the cover."

Source: PA