Birmingham City manager Alex McLeish heads into tomorrow’s important game at Wolverhampton Wanderers with one eye clearly on the future after talking up the talent of the incoming Keith Fahey.
League of Ireland Premier Division team St Patrick’s Athletic have finally accepted an offer for their mercurial midfielder believed to be £300,000 up front, rising to £500,000 after appearances.
Subject to contract negotiations, Fahey, 25, should arrive at St Andrew’s in January for his third spell in English football, following unsuccessful stints with Arsenal and Aston Villa.
McLeish is now hoping that the Dubliner will become as big of a success as his fellow Irish imports, Kevin Doyle and Noel and Stephen Hunt, have become at Reading.
“We’ve watched him (Fahey) a few times and we also watched him in the Hertha Berlin double-header and he didn’t look out of place against top German players and some Brazilians in their team as well,” said McLeish.
“He looked a player in amongst those guys, so that helped. One thing’s for sure, he knows how to pass a football.
“He should be hungry. I know the other Irish boys who have come into English football have acquitted themselves extremely well.
“I feel that Keith will have the bit between his teeth to show that he can cut it in English football.
“He’s a central midfielder. He sees pictures. From what I’ve seen of him he’s a guy whose got vision, passes a ball accurately, seems to have a good engine and I look forward to working with him,” he added.
McLeish has a strong squad to pick from for tomorrow’s lunchtime kick-off at Molineux, as Tuesday night’s three injury victims (Lee Carsley, Nigel Quashie and Franck Queudrue) all trained yesterday.
Mick McCarthy’s Wolves are on a seven-match winning run but McLeish is confident that his side can halt the old gold and black juggernaut.
“They are the leaders at the moment, they are there on merit, some day they will get beaten. We know that for a fact and we’ve got to attempt to be that team this weekend.”