Impatient fans have Robson on the rack

Birmingham City 4 - West Bromwich Albion 0
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The Independent Online

However much they may have been consumed by the same burning desire to succeed on the pitch, Steve Bruce and Bryan Robson are now experiencing vividly contrasting fortunes off it. While Birmingham City's manager has emerged safely from a nasty autumn squall, Robson is enduring a torrid reintroduction at the club where he made his name.

However much they may have been consumed by the same burning desire to succeed on the pitch, Steve Bruce and Bryan Robson are now experiencing vividly contrasting fortunes off it. While Birmingham City's manager has emerged safely from a nasty autumn squall, Robson is enduring a torrid reintroduction at the club where he made his name.

Bruce's high stock has been reinforced by successive derby-day victories that have put significant daylight between his side and the relegation battle. West Bromwich Albion are also five points from 17th-placed Norwich City; in their case, alas, five behind. And their boss is discovering that 249 lionheart Baggies appearances provide no immunity against the impatience of the modern game.

Six matches into his reign - one against Manchester United and another at Arsenal, where Albion took their only point of the second Robson coming - some fans were singing, "You don't know what you're doing" and "There's only one Gary Megson".

Quite what was made of his post-match comments is anybody's guess. "I'm doing my best with what I was left," was the gist of an address that pointed to transfer-window expenditure as the only hope of salvation. Directors who have already spent substantially would rather have heard himpledging to find some answers on the training ground.

Birmingham, whose stunning first half at Aston Villa eight days ago was barely reflected by a 2-0 interval lead, did not have to perform as well here to be three ahead by the half-hour through Robbie Savage, Clinton Morrison and Emile Heskey. David Dunn, part-creator of the second and third goals, was even more impressive.

Albion's plaudits started and finished with the excellent Jonathan Greening. "It's a big battle for us now but the abuse from the fans to the manager is unfair," Greening said. "He needs time to bring his own methods and players in."

Goals: Savage (4, pen) 1-0; Morrison (23) 2-0; Heskey (30) 3-0; Heskey (78) 4-0.

Birmingham City (4-4-2): Taylor; Tebily, Cunningham, Upson, Lazaridis; Johnson (Anderton, 77), Savage (Clapham, 85), Carter, Dunn; Heskey (Gray, 81), Morrison. Substitutes not used: Vaesen (gk), Clemence.

West Bromwich Albion (4-1-4-1): Hoult; Haas (Wallwork, 73), Purse, Scimeca, Clement; Gaardsoe; Gera (Earnshaw, h-t), Johnson, Koumas, Greening; Kanu. Substitutes not used: Kuszczak (gk), Horsfield, Dyer.

Referee: M Riley (West Yorkshire).

Booked: West Bromwich: Koumas, Haas, Greening, Gaardsoe.

Man of the match: Dunn.

Attendance: 28,880.

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