Bruce impressed by resurgent Butt's attitude

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Steve Bruce has hailed the performances of his midfielder Nicky Butt in winning over the Birmingham City fans after falling out of favour two months ago.

Butt walked out of the team hotel after not being included in the 16 for the Premiership match at West Ham United which disgusted some supporters. But the on-loan Newcastle player has fought his way back to full match fitness - with the help of spell in a training camp in Spain and has been one of City's best players in recent weeks, scoring in midweek against Blackburn. He will be a key player today as Birmingham try to catch Portsmouth and escape relegation when they meet Everton at Goodison Park.

Bruce, a team-mate of Butt at Manchester United, said: "Nicky has come back and his performance the other night against Blackburn was fantastic. The problems I had with him have been well publicised. But he has come back and his attitude has been 'I'll show you'. That's what Nicky Butt has done all his career and we are now seeing the best of him again and that's what he is all about.

"The supporters can see what he is doing. He was everyone's kicking block a while ago and now he is very popular because he has epitomised what the team has done. He has rolled up his sleeves and thought 'I'm going to have a go' instead of ducking it. Fair play to him. He has got many medals but he still has that pride and resilience to show people after what happened."

Bruce will give late fitness tests to the striker Emile Heskey and winger Jermaine Pennant ahead of today's game.