Birmingham City manager Alex McLeish insists his players are fully committed to the cause despite recent dismal form.
Since lifting the Carling Cup in February, Birmingham have won only twice and conceded eight goals in their past two matches.
But McLeish has been fielding the walking wounded in recent weeks and is adamant they have given their all.
“They have definitely put themselves on the line at certain times,” he said on Friday.
“Players taking injections to play, really committing themselves, determined not to miss games – you have got to applaud that kind of attitude and determination.”
“And we have needed those ingredients this season. I think we have just about got every ounce out of these players this year.”
“But I can see on the training ground that there is still some energy there. And the fans will help them get an extra couple of per cent energy if they are at their best as well.”
McLeish hopes to welcome Serbia forward Nicola Zigic back into the squad, saying Birmingham have been less of a physical force without his huge frame upfront.
“We’re trying to get him into the squad for this weekend,” confirmed the Blues manager.
“It depends on the training session on Saturday. He’s been training with the physio on his own, so they’ve been putting him through their paces on a one-to-one basis.”
“To join the group is an indication that he’s ready to come back.”
“Nicola was at the best form since he came to the club. Cup final, scored a goal, made a goal. West Ham semi-final he transformed the game for us.”
“He scored the winner against Stoke. His form was that of a top centre-forward at the time. So to lose him, at his peak, was difficult to swallow.”
Birmingham City will be without defender Scott Dann (hamstring) and forwards James McFadden (knee) and Obafemi Martins (groin).
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