Barry Ferguson to play on with broken rib for Birmingham

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The Independent Online

Birmingham are set to gamble on influential midfielder Barry Ferguson playing with a broken rib in their bid to secure Barclays Premier League survival.

Ferguson suffered the injury in a challenge with Arsenal's Samir Nasri during his side's shock Carling Cup final triumph 10 days ago.

He missed Saturday's 3-1 home defeat to West Brom and will also be absent from tonight's clash with Everton at Goodison Park.

But Ferguson has agreed to undergo a painkilling injection later in the week in a bid to be fit enough to rejoin his team's battle to stay up.

Blues boss Alex McLeish said: "If we were in mid-table, like at this stage last season, we would definitely not play Barry.

"But he wants to play. He said he can't sit about, he just wants to play.

"He has volunteered to take the injection. I think it will happen later in the week to allow things to settle down.

"There's not much you can do in terms of strapping up ribs and things like that, but the injection kind of freezes that side of his rib cage and gives it protection.

"It's Barry's decision, definitely. He did something similar when at Rangers.

"He's a brave boy. He showed his pain threshold in playing for an hour of the Carling Cup final with the injury."

McLeish believes Ferguson's determination to play typifies the toughness of the Blues squad.

He continued: "This group of players reminds me of the squad I was involved with as a player at Aberdeen. The guys in that team played through injuries as well.

"Sometimes we did it and maybe we were thinking 'maybe we shouldn't have played today' when you've had an indifferent game.

"But normally most of the time it worked and this group of players have also got some character to play through the injuries.

"You look at guys like big Roger Johnson. You think he is going to be out the next week and then he's fine again.

"He didn't train in the six days leading up to the cup final and that's the first time I've seen him out of training for as long as that.

"Liam Ridgewell is the same. He needed an injection in his groin to play just before kick-off against West Brom."



McLeish knows Blues have to deal with the pressure of being in the bottom three and insists the Carling Cup triumph has been consigned to history.

He added: "We know when you are down there, the pressure is going to intensify. We've got to deal with it. We've dealt with it quite well in the past.

"The players know the Carling Cup is gone. We watched some footage of it and they all said 'It's over, put the cup to bed'. They know they are in a battle."

McLeish also confirmed Middlesbrough had enquired about taking veteran goalkeeper Maik Taylor on loan, but the issue went no further.



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