McLeish maps out horizons after annexing Derbyshire

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The Independent Football

Birmingham manager Alex McLeish is still hopeful of adding to his squad before the transfer window closes at the end of this month.

Matt Derbyshire this week joined the giant Serbian striker Nikola Zigic and goalkeeper Ben Foster as summer imports to St Andrew's after agreeing a season-long loan from the Greek side Olympiakos.

McLeish said ahead of last weekend's 2-2 draw with Sunderland he was hopeful of bringing in new blood before tomorrow's first home match of the season against Blackburn after missing out on Moussa Dembele, who has since joined Fulham.

City are one of a number of clubs to have been linked with the Wigan wideman Charles N'Zogbia but, although McLeish refused to confirm the names of his targets, the Scot assured fans there was plenty going on behind the scenes.

He said: "I'm trying to get the squad up to 25. We are working towards it for before the window closes. We still plan to bring a player or two in. We're making enquiries about certain situations and we've also had a big list of players, one or two that we've lost out on and one or two that we've decided to pass on, and it'll keep going for a while.

"From last season's team photo there's 10 who have left the club, so it's a case of filling the squad up and making sure it's not just numbers but the quality of people to augment the squad. I can't guarantee that everything will be in place but if it's not then that's a challenge for the players at the club to show that they can do what they did last year."

McLeish confirmed Derbyshire would make his debut against Rovers, the club he left for Olympiakos last January, after Birmingham received international clearance for the 24-year-old. "He's in the squad," said the former Scotland manager. "We won't name the team until Friday but we must get Matt into the action. He's fit enough, he's looked bright in training and he'll be involved at some stage. He's got an eye for a goal and he's very sharp in and around the box. We believe we're getting a mature Matt Derbyshire and we're looking forward to working with him."

Birmingham scored twice in the final 12 minutes at the Stadium of Light to snatch what looked for most of the match an unlikely draw and McLeish made plain his disappointment at the performance. The Blues were the surprise package in the Premier League last season, with a top 10 finish. They go into tomorrow's game defending an 11-month unbeaten record on home soil.