Dunn says the Blues must stay positive

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The Independent Online

David Dunn has insisted that Birmingham cannot afford to let their spirits drop and have to "be strong mentally" if they are to have any hope of avoiding relegation from the Premiership.

Birmingham face a difficult task if they are to avoid ending their four-year stay in the top flight following their 2-1 defeat by West Ham on Monday night.

That defeat left Steve Bruce's side without a Premiership victory in seven attempts at St Andrew's this season and four points adrift of safety.

To compound City's misery, Mario Melchiot, Muzzy Izzet and Martin Taylor picked up injuries which could keep them out until the new year.

Bruce said: "If a game summed up our season, it was that one, especially the first 45 minutes. We got off to a good start but then had to make three substitutions due to injuries, all of which will keep the players out for the foreseeable future.

"In the second half we didn't take our chances. We've got to be more clinical in front of goal but we also defended poorly for both goals."

Dunn, who along with Emile Heskey was the only player to emerge with much credit, believes the players cannot afford to feel sorry for themselves as they prepare for Saturday's must-win home meeting with Fulham.

Dunn said: "What can you say? We gave away two poor goals. We also had five or six good chances to get more out of the game and we didn't take them.

"It is disappointing. I felt we deserved something out of the game. Apart from the two poor goals we gave away, West Ham didn't create anything.

"I can't think this season when we have conceded a goal where someone has done a bit of magic and smashed the ball into the top corner. It always seems to come from our mistakes and not doing things right.

"As regards having a cutting edge and killing teams off, we haven't done that this season. I'm disappointed. It is important for us to dust ourselves down and focus on Saturday now.

"You've got to be confident, believe in yourself, be focused on what you are going to do and, if we do that, we've got half a chance of getting something.

"If everyone has got their heads down and dwelling on Monday, we don't stand as good a chance as we do if we go out there and be confident.

"That's the key. We've got to be strong mentally, pick ourselves back up and work our socks off again on Saturday. The game is crucial - we definitely need to win."

Heskey put Birmingham in front but Bobby Zamora and Marlon Harewood struck to give the Hammers the lead at half-time.

Heskey admitted: "The lads were down on Monday. It wasn't a bad performance. It was just sloppy goals again. It was probably one of our better performances.

"You make your own mistakes and we have got to try and cut them out. We could probably have prevented both of those goals.

"We know we have got to get results. The results are the main thing. We want to be pushing up that table. One or two wins and you are out of the relegation zone."

The West Ham manager, Alan Pardew, says he would be interested in Crystal Palace striker Andrew Johnson if he became available in the January transfer window.

He said: "It is no secret that we will be in the market for a top-quality player when the transfer window opens next month.

"Andy Johnson falls into that category and, should he become available, then we would be very interested as, I imagine, other clubs would be as well."

If Johnson did sign for the Hammers, then Zamora could find his position under threat but he has vowed to fight for his place.

Zamora, who scored a splendid equaliser at St Andrew's, said: "The gaffer has said he will get a striker in next month and obviously that reduces my chances a bit but he rates me very highly.

"I've just got to do a bit better than whoever comes in but, whatever the future holds, I want to stay here."

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