Blackburn Rovers boss Sam Allardyce believes Birmingham City will be a "bigger force" next season if manager Alex McLeish is given money to spend in the transfer market over the summer.

Allardyce has been very impressed by the job McLeish has done this season in steering the Blues to mid-table respectability following promotion from the Championship last May.

In contrast, Rovers are still not safe as they go into tonight's clash between the two sides at Ewood Park nine points and three places behind Blues, who occupy ninth.

Allardyce feels Birmingham under McLeish will continue to improve if new owner Carson Yeung backs the Scot over the summer.

"The organisation under Alex and his staff has produced a very well structured and hard-working team," assessed Allardyce. "He plays with a front two who are very quick and tricky, and then you have the experience behind that of Lee Bowyer, Barry Ferguson and Stephen Carr which stands them in good stead.

"But this year the major find has been the goalkeeper in Joe Hart, who has as many clean sheets (nine) as anybody else in the Premier League.

"They've forged their way up the table with a number of 1-0 wins that have brought those very precious three points.

"They've also a new owner who seems to be putting a bit more money in than the previous ones. If he goes and continues to spend it, then Birmingham will become a bigger force next season than this."