Steve Bruce's demeanour has been transformed after Birmingham secured their fifth point in eight days, writes Ian Clarkson.

The St Andrew's manager cut a forlorn figure after their dismal FA Cup exit against Liverpool last month, but he admitted he would be quaffing a few pints of Stella Artois as they inched closer to safety.

Bruce has been robust in his response to criticism and their bullish approach has provided tangible reward.

"If we get out of it then this will probably rank as my biggest achievement as a manager since getting into the Premier League because of the problems we have had," he said.

"I went to Stamford Bridge with three kids on the bench in December, but when I have nearly a full squad to choose from, then what a difference it makes.

"If we do it will be a great achievement. I am fine and have lived with pressure and played under pressure for years so that is no problem.

"It has made me older! It's not healthy though and I am sure my blood pressure is horrific," he added with a grin.

David Dunn's strike was only Birmingham's second away goal of 2006 [2014] a Xabi Alonso own goal was the other [2014] and further evidence of the renewed sprit within the club.

The midfielder produced an impressive cameo role for the final 25 minutes and galvanised his team into claiming another valuable point.

Bruce claimed that the return of Chris Sutton, Muzzy Izzet and Dunn from injury would only aid their survival battle.

He continued: "The Premier League have got a statistic out that shows the team who scores first in the Premier League wins 85 per cent of the time. It's unbelievable.

"When you go a goal down you are looking for a response and Dunn gives you that little extra edge.

"In the end we have gone for it a little bit with Dunn, (Jiri) Jarosik, Forssell, (Emile) Heskey and (Jer-maine) Pennant all attacking players. David Dunn has only completed two 90 minutes in two years.

We can all see when he takes the pitch what a talent he is. If not for injuries I think he could play at any stage at any level.

"Dunn is a class act. He was our big signing for £5 million. For us, that's a fortune. We hope that he can stay fit as he deserves to with the work he has put in to rid himself of this horrible injury.

"You worry after the Liverpool game and there were some bashed up people. It was horrible and certainly the worst night of my football career. But I couldn't be more pleased with the response.

"If you are up against it, you batten down the hatches and come out fighting. That's the way I am. As a manager you look for a response and it has been a big week."

Bruce can now enjoy his week in readiness for the derby at Aston Villa on Sunday. Birmingham have yet to lose at their nearest neighbours since their return to the top flight and would appear to be in better shape at present.

With the stakes so high it is sure to be a nervous affair but Bruce was already salivating at the prospect of locking horns with Villa.

"They are all big," he said when asked if this was the biggest derby fixture since their return to the top-flight.

"I remember the first one as if it was yesterday. Let's have more of that. We have now got some momentum going into the derby. Villa are still in the equation.

"There has been a response amongst my players since Liverpool. They were totally humiliated and rightly so.

"The one thing you have got to do is work extremely hard and all credit to my staff too. They've tried to put some belief back into the players. They hadn't become bad players overnight."