Alex McLeish has sympathy for under pressure Avram Grant

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The Independent Football

Alex McLeish admits to having every sympathy for Avram Grant in his battle to cling on to his job as West Ham manager.

Grant gave his bosses every reason to hand him a stay of execution last night by inspiring the 10-man Hammers to a 2-1 Carling Cup semi-final first-leg win over McLeish's Birmingham.

But it may not be enough to avoid the axe, with the club's board reportedly due to meet today to decide his fate.

Blues boss McLeish said: "It's not easy that, when you're reading about yourself in the papers and you have no control of it.

"I don't want to interfere in someone else's business but we know how football works, and we are all vulnerable when we get bad results."

Rumours Grant is a dead man walking have been circulating for some time.

Despite a revival in recent weeks, the club are back on the bottom of the Barclays Premier League.

Grant laughed off the latest speculation about his future last night, saying: "Don't worry about me - I will be fine in any case.

"I really, really appreciate that you are worried about me and you like me and you want me to be near you!

"I like you also, by the way.

"Why do you need to ask me about something that is not in my control?

"You can ask me why I picked this player and not the other one because this is my responsibility.

"You can ask me if I want to stay or not... no, no. Don't ask me this!"

West Ham are poised to complete the loan signing of Manchester City full-back Wayne Bridge and Grant said: "When the deal is done, we will announce it. The deal isn't done."

The Hammers completely bossed the first half of last night's game and should have led by more than Mark Noble's goal.

Birmingham came roaring back after the break, levelling through Liam Ridgewell before home forward Victor Obinna got himself sent off for kicking Sebastian Larsson in the groin.

However, a huge blunder from Ben Foster gifted the 10 men victory when he allowed Carlton Cole's weak shot to trickle through his legs.

McLeish said: "If you were talking about a 2-1 deficit before the game, you might not be too unhappy about that.

"I'm unhappy about it now because of the way the second half went but it is recoverable and we have to do what West Ham did to us and get into their faces in the first few minutes of the game and show our intentions in front of a partisan St Andrew's crowd."