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Page last updated at 13:09 GMT, Friday, 9 May 2008 14:09 UK

McLeish wants belief from Blues

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McLeish says he is with Birmingham for the long haul

Birmingham manager Alex McLeish insists his side's belief will be key if they are to avoid the Premier League drop.

Birmingham host Blackburn, while relegation rivals Fulham will be at Portsmouth and Reading face Derby, with two of the three set to go down.

"It is all about confidence," said McLeish ahead of Sunday's final game.

"They've got to have the belief and the evidence is there for them to look at from the games we have played at home. That should give them the belief."

Birmingham play a Blackburn side aiming for a win to enhance their Intertoto Cup hopes in what appears the toughest fixture out of the trio battling for survival.

606: DEBATE

Derby have not won since Paul Jewell took over last November, while Fulham travel to a Portsmouth side who will have one eye on the FA Cup final on 17 May.

McLeish met with Rams boss Paul Jewell at a function during the week and he said: "I said to Paul 'You've got to win one, come on, you have to via the law of averages'.

"Paul Jewell is a proud guy and Derby are a handful on their own pitch.

"I would imagine any team Paul Jewell is in charge of will show plenty of fight and that will be the case on Sunday against Reading."

McLeish also admitted that it will be hard not to be keeping abreast of what is going on in the matches involving Fulham and Reading on Sunday.

Bolton could also be relegated by a bizarre turn of results and they play title-chasing Chelsea.

"You just won't be able to avoid what is going on. People have their radios on and we will be getting messages," McLeish added.

Birmingham owner David Gold remained hopeful that the club would avoid relegation due their home form.

"We do have young players and they sometimes struggle when they are away from home," Gold told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"Our away form is probably the reason why we're in the difficulties we are in. At home we're exceptional.

"We're are a much better team at home because the young players are more comfortable in that environment."

Asked whether Karren Brady had been interviewed to replace Keith Edelman as Arsenal's managing director Gold added: "I don't know about the situation. I haven't spoken to Karren."


see also
Birmingham v Blackburn
09 May 08 |  Premier League
Derby v Reading
08 May 08 |  Premier League
Portsmouth v Fulham
09 May 08 |  Premier League
Ferguson has confidence in Bolton
09 May 08 |  Premier League


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