McLeish wary of Portsmouth threat

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The Independent Football

Alex McLeish has warned Birmingham they will be facing "dangerous opposition" when they take on crisis club Portsmouth in this weekend's FA Cup quarter-final clash at Fratton Park.

Pompey are facing almost certain relegation from the Barclays Premier League after going into administration, which is likely to mean a points deduction.

But they showed their inner strength when winning 2-1 at Burnley at the weekend and McLeish is under no false illusions as to the task ahead despite the Blues lying eighth in the Premier League and having reached the 40-point mark.

The former Scotland boss said: "People say we look a decent cup side with being good defensively and nicking goals. That is the theory.

"We should be going into the game relaxed - but we will be up against dangerous opposition.

"Portsmouth are backed into a corner, they had a great result at the weekend, and have some great players.

"They are on their own patch and, as anyone knows in this league, including the top teams like Manchester United and Chelsea, it is not easy to go away and win.

"The draw could have been worse but it could have been better and we've been drawn away in every round this season.

"But we won at Everton two rounds ago and we think that, on our day, we can progress."

McLeish admits he will start to give more action to Sporting Gijon playmaker Michel - signed in January - now that Blues are assured of top-flight status for another season.

He said: "The players here will not rest on their laurels after what they have achieved. They are determined to win and it's the same in training every day.

"They will carry on and try to get as many points as they can. But it is maybe an opportunity as well for me to maybe blood players into the side and give some game play, like Michel."

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