Johnson: Next month crucial in Birmingham's fight to avoid drop

Roger Johnson admits Birmingham must rediscover the winning formula and believes a run of games to the end of February will be crucial to their survival hopes.

Alex McLeish's side have drawn 11 of their Premier League matches – the highest number in the division alongside Fulham – and are hovering above the bottom three.

Johnson knows that successive matches against West Ham, Stoke, Newcastle and Everton in the next month will have a major impact on their chances of avoiding the drop.

The central defender said: "I'd rather win two and lose two than all these draws. Draws are OK but they are not going to get you up the League.

"We are still in that basement battle and only picking up three points from matches is going to get us out of that. We are in a battle but we've got a run of games soon against sides that are around us to the end of February. They are our key games and we've got to win them at home."

Johnson will have to adjust to a new central defensive partner for the remainder of the season after Scott Dann's long-term hamstring injury. But he has faith in either Liam Ridgewell or Martin Jiranek to fill the breach. He said: "It is tough for Scott. I am gutted for him. We had a good partnership. But Ridge has got to step in and fill his boots and, being a centre-half, I am sure he will do it. Martin is also good. We've seen him at Millwall in the FA Cup game and in a few other cup games."

West Brom are set to step up their bid to sign Aston Villa striker John Carew, and current leading scorer Peter Odemwingie would welcome the rivalry from any new arrival. The Baggies are expected to move for Carew now that Darren Bent has completed his club-record move from Sunderland to Villa.

Baggies manager Roberto di Matteo had already confirmed Carew is a player on his radar, but Odemwingie, who has netted seven goals this season, will thrive on the competition.

The Nigerian international said: "Will I welcome a new striker? You cannot avoid this. Every team has competition between players. It's something that must be there and we have it now. I'm not the only player who can play and score but just at the moment they [the club] feel I'm in a better condition and I'm confident in front of goal. Tomorrow it might be someone else because we have 40-odd games a season. If someone else comes in and he's good then maybe you will need to do extra that you've never done before to get a shirt. I know that."

Wolves manager Mick McCarthy believes there is no guarantee Darren Bent will instantly produce the goods for relegation rivals Aston Villa if his £18m move from Sunderland is completed. McCarthy has to deal at the other end of the market to Villa, who have already signed midfielder Jean Makoun from Lyons for £6m.

He has no complaints about having to compete on an uneven playing field but also knows money does not ensure automatic success.

Former Sunderland manager McCarthy said: "Good for Villa. I wonder what Martin [O'Neill] is thinking? It seemed to me that they wanted to sell players. But good luck to them. There's nothing we can do to affect it.

"I'm sure the midfielder [Makoun] coming in will find out how difficult the Premier League is. Bent has been there, seen it and done it, but it doesn't always work out that moves are seamless. He's had a great time at Sunderland, but it didn't go so well for him at Tottenham."

New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashion
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all