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."

PROMOTED VIDEO
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

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz