Birmingham boss Alex McLeish counts down to 'biggest game of career'

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The Independent Football

Birmingham boss Alex McLeish admits he is braced for the biggest game of his managerial career against Tottenham at White Hart Lane on Sunday.

McLeish led Blues to Carling Cup glory in February but three months later the club's Barclays Premier League future is on a knife edge.

City are one of five clubs who could drop through the relegation trapdoor amidst speculation surrounding McLeish's future.

He said: "It's hypothetical stuff. I'm not going to get involved in ifs and buts (about my future).

"But I do know it is probably the biggest game of my career.

"It is certainly the biggest of my managerial career - so bring it on.

"I believe we will stay up. We have to try and play to the strengths the players possess.

"We know opening up against a Spurs team could be deadly.

"We've got our own strategy and we have to try and be good on the day to get a positive result at White Hart Lane."

Birmingham have been decimated by injuries and two lengthy cup runs have taken their toll.

But McLeish is refusing to blame the side effects of Blues lifting their first trophy for 48 years for their current predicament.

He said: "I'm not blaming anything on the cup. We have been savaged by injuries. There is no doubt about it and suspensions don't help.

"We have been hit in that department but I'm not blaming the cup. It was a brilliant day.

"The players have given the fans some fantastic days this season including the Carling Cup.

"There have been other games as well. We beat Chelsea, drew at Manchester City who are now in the Champions League.

"They've got plenty of great moments that they have given the fans and I am looking for one more great moment at Spurs."

McLeish feels any side relegated this season can count themselves unlucky.

He said: "We are where we are because we have not won enough games, or got enough points. But 39 points in any other season would have been fine.

"Three teams are going to go down and they don't deserve to go down but if it's your destiny, then that is what will happen - but I think we'll stay up."

McLeish concedes that a lack of goal power and failure to register as many clean sheets as last season are the main reasons for City's current plight.

He said: "The nucleus of the guys have played for two years solid.

"We've gone right to the wire in some ways to get 39 points with the trials and tribulations we've had.

"But we have been short of goals again which last year we got away with because we had so many shut-outs.

"This season we've not quite got away with that."

Birmingham's top scorer, nine goal Craig Gardner, and defender Liam Ridgewell will return after suspension.

McLeish is also hopeful striker Cameron Jerome will have recovered from an ankle problem.