Fight to stay up is priority over cup runs, says McLeish

Birmingham 3 Sheffield Wednesday 0

Carling Cup finalists Birmingham may be only one more win from booking themselves another trip to Wembley but manager Alex McLeish will not gamble with the club's Premier League future for the sake of fleeting FA Cup glory.

Despite making eight changes, McLeish watched City stroll into the quarter-finals at the expense of hapless Sheffield Wednesday, yet said it was "unrealistic" to expect the club to compete on three fronts.

"Being successful in the Carling Cup is as big a task as you could ask for," he said. "We would really struggle to do the FA Cup as well and I would worry about the effect it would have on us in the league."

Birmingham can spend this week preparing to face Arsenal at Wembley on Sunday, but will have a relegation battle looming when they face fellow strugglers West Bromwich Albion on 5 March.

With both in mind McLeish allowed many of his likely Wembley starters the day off against Wednesday. The chance for others to stake their claims for places produced mixed results. Alexander Hleb may miss out after a mistimed tackle left him with a knee injury. But Obafemi Martins is likely to start after opening his scoring account for City.

McLeish said the nucleus of his Wembley team was already picked, but was under no illusions about Birmingham's chances against Arsenal. "We are playing a team that just beat Barcelona," he said. "You see things in every game although we didn't get many ideas from that one, unless we can get Messi and Xavi on loan."

Wednesday manager Gary Megson blamed "Keystone Kops defending" for allowing Jean Beausejour to score his first Birmingham goal after six minutes and Martins to make it 2-0 after 17, defender David Murphy adding the third in the second half.

Scorers: B'ham Beausejour 6, Martins 17, Murphy 53. Subs: B'ham Bentley 6 (Hleb, 26), Phillips 6 (Jerome h/t), Mutch 6 (Johnson, 62). S Wed Hinds 6 (Reynolds,28), Beevers 6 (Morrison, h/t), Palmer 7 (O'Connor, h/t).Booked: B'ham Johnson. S Wed Spurr, Beevers, Reda Johnson, O'Connor. Man of the match Bowyer. Match rating 6/10.

Referee A Taylor (Cheshire) Att 14,607.

News
Food blogger and Guardian writer Jack Monroe with her young son
people
News
people
News
peopleSinger tells The Independent what life is like in rehab in an exclusive video interview
Arts and Entertainment
booksPhotographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years - but he says it wasn’t all fun and games...
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Sport
Aguero - who single-handedly has kept City's Champions League dreams alive - celebrates his dramatic late winner
footballManchester City 3 Bayern Munich 2: Argentine's late hat-rick sees home side snatch vital victory
News
Muhammad Ali pictured in better health in 2006
peopleBut he has enjoyed publicity from his alleged near-death experience
Arts and Entertainment
Tony breaks into Ian Garrett's yacht and makes a shocking discovery
TVReview: Revelations continue to make this drama a tough watch
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
TV
News
The assumption that women are not as competent in leadership positions as men are leads to increased stress in the workplace
science... and it's down to gender stereotypes
Life and Style
The racy marketing to entice consumers to buy Fairlife, which launches in the US next month
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Inner sanctum: Tove Jansson and friends in her studio in 1992
booksWhat was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital