Birmingham City manager Steve Bruce is praying his plan to keep faith with an unchanged line-up does not backfire on him against Blackburn tomorrow.

Bruce has remained loyal to the players who earned a 1-1 draw at Everton last time out but is worried about a repeat performance of the last home game.

A goalless draw with Pompey was City's worst home display of the season but the performance at Goodison Park has left him with no alternative but to name an unchanged starting XI.

The Portsmouth draw came in Birmingham's worst home performance and shows why the club are heading for a mid-table finish.

Bruce is looking for the same kind of performances Birmingham produced on the road against Chelsea and Everton to ensure they have a chance to finish the season on a high note.

Bruce, who has signed five players from Blackburn for Birmingham over the last three seasons, has a high regard for the Ewood Park outfit who are managed by his former Manchester United team-mate Mark Hughes.

He admitted: "One thing about the Blackburn game is that it will be competitive.

"You can see after watching them at West Bromwich Albion the other evening that they are a resilient, strong, physical and aggressive side. We will need to make sure that we stand up to them.

"They are difficult to play against and I respect them for what they have done to drag themselves out of trouble.

"Playing against a side which has only conceded two goals in the last 10 Premiership games will be a tough, tough game. That statistic tells its own story."

The competitive spirit of the Blackburn side is what Bruce admires and he feels the Ewood Park club were unfairly criticised for their tactics against Arsenal in the FA Cup semi-final when they crashed to a 3-0 defeat.

He said: "They could not be expected to lie down and allow Arsenal to walk all over them.

"I thought they did exceptionally well and it was a close game until the two late goals.

"Personally, I think they have done extremely well to get out of the situation they were in earlier in the season."

Former Blackburn midfielder Damien Johnston will be in the Birmingham side tomorrow, with another former Rovers man, Martin Taylor, on the bench.

Veteran midfielder Darren Anderton retains his starting position following a surprise recall at Everton.

Bruce, however, has mixed feeling about Robbie Savage who will miss out at St Andrews.

He claimed: "I am fed up to the back teeth with him and I do not want to give him any more publicity. I just want to focus on the match.

"A few months ago this game appeared as if it might have been a relegation battle.

"Fortunately for both clubs it isn't but there is still a lot to play for on the day.

"If we beat Blackburn we will move above them in the table and that would be fantastic.

"Afterwards it would be a case of looking how high we can finish.

"Tenth appears to be out of the question but 11th or 12th would be fine - after beating Blackburn.

"We want to make sure we finish as high as we can and take a positive note into the summer."