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Page last updated at 13:23 GMT, Tuesday, 28 October 2008

McLeish delighted over O'Connor

Garry O'Connor
O'Connor scored twice against Sheffield Wednesday

Birmingham City manager Alex McLeish has expressed his delight for in-form striker Garry O'Connor after his fellow Scot won over Blues fans.

O'Connor scored twice in Saturday's 3-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday after finding the target in the previous home victory against Crystal Palace.

McLeish described the 25-year-old as the "best finisher" at the club.

"He had a difficult season last year. I don't think he's done himself any harm with two great goals," he told BBC WM.

We brought him back to the Scotland squad when I was in charge there and he contributed, so we knew he wasn't just a training ground player

Birmingham boss Alex McLeish

Blues signed O'Connor from Lokomotiv Moscow in June 2007 for 2.7m.

"We brought him back to the Scotland squad when I was in charge there and he contributed, so we knew he wasn't just a training ground player."

McLeish admitted the service to the Blues strikers could have been better in the early part of this season, but there was now a "big, big difference in the supply".

Blues have rotated their strikers as they have established top spot in the Championship.

Asked whether O'Connor and Kevin Phillips were now as close as anyone to his first-choice front pair, McLeish said: "They've certainly shown great finishing skills and great linking also."

McLeish has several experienced strikers at his disposal, with Cameron Jerome, James McFadden and Marcus Bent all on the books at St Andrew's.

He said: "In the second game, a cup game [at Wycombe], that was an opportunity for me to give them all a run out.

"Really I was throwing a gauntlet down. If they were on fire, then it would have been hard for me to leave them out the next game.

"So I was just really throwing down the gauntlet for the players to see if it would be picked up by any one or two in particular and if we're honest, I think it was a little bit patchy."

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see also
Birmingham complete O'Connor deal
23 Jun 07 |  Birmingham
Blues boss applauds O'Connor show
22 Oct 08 |  Birmingham


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