Injuries force McLeish's hand
Birmingham's crippling injury list means manager Alex McLeish will call upon every fit and able first-team player at his disposal for the Carling Cup third-round clash against Sunderland. The majority of top-flight managers, and indeed some from the Coca-Cola Championship, commonly use the League Cup to rotate squads, hand star names a much-needed break and blood fresh talent, while at the same time giving the competition the respect it deserves. McLeish insists he would love to do well in the tournament this season, while at the same time openly admitting Barclays Premier League survival is his main priority. But his hopes of a Wembley appearance on February 28 may be hampered by Birmingham's lengthy injury problems, with a staggering 12 players missing for the trip to the Stadium of Light. "I would like to rest maybe (Barry) Ferguson, maybe the (Lee) Bowyers of this world but they've got to play," said McLeish. "It's all we've got left. It's an horrendous injury list. "At the end of the day I'm still putting a pretty decent side onto the pitch. But it would be better to have the options, believe me, because a lot of the fellas that have been putting the intensity into games over the last couple of weeks certainly can't keep that going. They need to be rotated at times or else it'll burn them out and they'll get injuries."
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