Alex McLeish hailed Birmingham City’s potent strike force after three of his feared marksmen found the net against Watford.
With his Scottish striking duo of James McFadden and Garry O’Connor out with groin injuries, McLeish is fortunate enough to be able to turn to a trio of equally dangerous goal-scorers.
At times on Saturday, Birmingham’s defence appeared to be conspiring to hand Watford a share of the spoils.
They were static for Tamas Priskin’s early opener, failed to deal with a corner for Ross Jenkins’ late strike and only a bizarre piece of refereeing allowed Radhi Jaidi to escape from a pretty conclusive penalty appeal for handball deep into injury time.
Thank goodness that in Kevin Phillips, Marcus Bent and Cameron Jerome, McLeish has three match winners to turn to.
“I said in the dressing room at the end of the game that the strikers looked in great form,” said McLeish.
“It was brilliant to see them all getting on the score sheet. The three centre forwards were very potent today.
“Bent is getting better with every game and it was great to see him double his tally for the season, I’m sure there will be more from Bent, he was getting in where it hurts today.
“There was another couple of occasions when Kevin was unlucky on the byline, when he went past the last defender and if he had got the ball across then Bent had a tap in, these things maybe people don’t see.
“I thought in the last couple of months Bent has been on the periphery but he’s now getting in where it hurts and right in to the dangerous areas, winning balls, flick-ons, bringing us into play, taking us up the pitch, good centre forward play.
“Cameron was on fire as well, he’s come on, did really well and could have had a hat-trick.”
To their credit, Watford made themselves a tough hurdle to overcome and when Jenkins smashed home the Hornets’ second to make it 3-2 in the 88th minute, the St Andrew’s faithful feared the worst.
McLeish admitted that it was an anxious few minutes at the end but he also felt that his side should have already been home and dry at that point.
“I think we could have defended better at certain times, maybe at 2-1 we were a little bit nervy and that’s when we’re really looking for composure.
“Watford, to their credit, gave their manager everything and they piled forward, caused us some problems but equally we could have scored a couple of goals at the other end that would have put it beyond doubt.
“When it’s always 2-1 there’s always a wee chance for them and they came forward, at 3-1 I thought it was done but we were sloppy again at a set-piece which gave us a nervy last few minutes,” the manager added.