Bruce vows to overcome his 'biggest challenge'

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The Blues manager is also calling on his players to step forward and "become warriors" in what is a massive week for the Midlands club, who are on the verge of signing the central defender Paul Scharner from SK Brann Bergen.

City are looking for a confidence boost when they host Bruce's former club Norwich in the Carling Cup today before tackling Everton at St Andrews in a Premiership bottom-three clash on Saturday.

Bruce has a number of key injuries in his squad but is under no pressure for the foreseeable pressure regarding his job as chairman David Gold has again given him unequivocal backing.

Bruce said: "If I buckle under and show any sign of weakness then that will seep through to everyone concerned at the football club. Anybody who knows me, knows the bigger the challenge, the more I try to respond to it and this is possibly the biggest challenge since I came to the club nearly four years ago.

"I've got to make my decision and not waver. I will go and speak with John Benson, our general manager who has been in the game 50 years, and see if there is anything I've missed out.

"But the one thing I've got to do is stay strong, not waver, make the decisions and stick with them. We are human. We all make mistakes but I hope I can make more good decisions than poor ones. You are on your own and you have to fight the flak, not let it affect you, not let it affect your judgement and just try and turn things around.

"In life if you are up against it whatever you do, if you fight that little bit harder and work that little harder you usually see the rewards. We have also got to have a few warriors come forward now. We have got to show a bit of fight and a bit of character."

Bruce added: "It's been tough and we can all feel sorry for ourselves in certain situations but I don't want to make excuses. We simply haven't been good enough to get the results and that has to change quickly.

"We have got two home games now and it is vital for our season that we progress through the Carling Cup and get a positive result against Everton. We had a disappointing start last season and came through OK in the end but the players have got to start performing."

Gold has insisted Birmingham will not rush into buying players during the January transfer window by which time he is hoping long-term absentees such as Mikael Forssell, David Dunn and Muzzy Izzet will be back to their best.

He said: "We are not panic-thinking when it comes to bringing in new players. There are more than two months before the transfer window opens again and we will look at the fitness of our players then. People like Mikael Forssell should be up to speed by then so we have to stay optimistic. I think we can sit down in December and see what is needed.

"But I honestly think that if we had all our best players fit then we wouldn't be in trouble."

Midfielder Neil Kilkenny could start against the Canaries after impressing as a substitute in Saturday's 2-0 reversal at Blackburn.

Bruce said: "Neil was a breath of fresh air. It is never easy for a young kid to come in and I always like to introduce them into a team which is confident but he gave us a little spark that we needed on Saturday."

Scharner, an Austrian international, claimed yesterday a deal was "very, very close" to being finalised with the midlands club.

Scharner, who can also play in midfield, has also been linked with a move to Middlesbrough as well as clubs in Germany and France. But he is ready to make the switch to City when the transfer window reopens in January.

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