Getting back to the defensive basics is a must for Birmingham City.

Middlesbrough visit St Andrew’s on Friday evening (7.45pm) and manager Lee Clark is calling for his team to be safe, and sound.

After conceding six goals in two games, Clark addressed the issue at Blackpool on Tuesday.

Steven Caldwell was dropped and Pablo recalled. And Paul Caddis was thrown back into the fray after an injury lay-off.

Clark also changed the system and the measures did the trick as Blues were much more secure in the 1-1 draw.

“Defensively I thought the whole game was decent for us, we looked a lot more solid,” he said.

“Overall the attitude and application and the defensive side, for the full game, I was happy with.

“You can’t be shipping goals like we had been.

“We did great in the second half at Derby County, and you take the point, 2-2.

“But we gave another average goal away.

“There were situations with the first and second one, possible offside and foul. But you can’t be relying on the officials to do you jobs.

“You have to be solid and defend properly.”

Marlon King was Blues’ lone striker, supported by Peter Lovenkrands and Wade Elliott from out wide.

“With the system, again, it was just to try and make us more solid,” said Clark.

“I wanted to match Blackpool up.

“They get a lot of the ball at home, they play patient football and try and release Ince on it, who is a massive threat.

“We needed to combat that.

“I just felt as well as giving us a solid base it would provide young Ravel Morrison a little bit more freedom in having the two ‘holders’ in behind him with Jonathan Spector and Hayden Mullins.

“We didn’t do enough in terms of the attacking side in the first half. But we did a lot more in the second half.”

Clark opted to bolster Blues on the left-hand side with the addition of Robert Hall from West Ham United on loan.

And the 19-year-old made quite an impression on his debut.

In half-an-hour at Derby he was lively, quick and direct.

He earned the penalty that brought about King’s goal and generally added some verve on the flank.

On Tuesday he would have been rewarded with a starting spot at Blackpool had he not fallen ill during the team meeting pre-match at Blues’ hotel.

Clark explained that he brought Hall into the fold to increase competition and options on the flank.

Elliott has been the recent regular there and Nathan Redmond has also started four times on the left, and three times on the right.

Hammers manager Sam Allardyce was not going to allow Hall to leave on loan.

He had been involved in their last five matches, on the substitutes bench.

“I thought at the time it was a coup that we got him,” said Clark.

“It was one I tried to pursue on deadline day. Two or three times I thought it wasn’t going to happen, but it eventually did.

“I knew how good he was because I’d seen him play lots of times for the young England teams and for the young teams at West Ham and his time on loan at Oxford.

‘‘And my chief scout, Malcolm Crosby, knew him very well from his time at Oxford.”

“He’s thrown down the gauntlet to the other wide men in the group,” Clark added.

Hall has been rated a doubt for Boro’s visit as his sickness bug may not be a 24-hour ailment, according to Blues’ doctor.

The manager, though, saw a funny side to it. He quipped: “I have had everything in team meetings: players who haven’t been picked disappointed and sulking, but this is the first time someone has vomited during the team talk!”