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."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?