Managers back Carsley after horror challenge

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Mick McCarthy and Alex McLeish both jumped to the defence of Lee Carsley after his horror tackle put a tarnish on Birmingham City's significant 2-0 victory over promotion rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday night. The Blues captain was shown a straight red card in the first half for a dangerously high tackle on Chris Iwelumo that took more of the striker's knee than the ball.

The Scotland international was left to play no further part in the Championship match, although early examinations suggest the injury is not as bad as initially feared. Carsley is believed to have sought out Iwelumo after the game to issue an apology. Wolves manager McCarthy said: "At the time I couldn't really see it, but I've just watched it again and let me clear something up. Lee wouldn't go in to hurt anybody. He's a competitor and I think he's just mistimed it, he's caught him and it's not a very nice tackle. He's one of the nicest blokes you'll ever come across in football and not for one minute do I think he's attempted to 'do' Chris. But it was late and it doesn't look nice. Chris has got a sore knee. He's got it in ice but he'll probably go for a scan."

Alex McLeish the Birmingham manager also defended Carsley. "I thought he wasn't the favourite to win the ball," he said. "But Lee's a wholehearted player, committed, he's not a dirty player and all the professionals know that. But he's high with his studs and when you do that and don't get the ball then 99 per cent of the time it's a red card. He was upset at half-time. He knows that the player is injured and he cares, he is a guy who cares not only about the cause for Birmingham but he respects his fellow pros." The victory moved City to within two points of their Midlands neighbours at the top of the table.