Steve Bruce has described tomorrow's home encounter against Newcastle United as the most important match in Birmingham City's history and the biggest of his career.

The Birmingham manager makes no attempt to detract from the consequences of defeat at the hands of the Magpies, which could ultimately result in relegation from the Premiership.

Bruce has urged his team to maintain their recent form and not wilt under the pressure of such circumstances.

He said: "It's how we handle the situation. We've had some must-win games since Christmas to keep ourselves in the race. After picking up one point from our first seven home games, we've had to play catch-up since January.

"Our home form of late has been excellent. We need that to continue in the game against Newcastle. We also need to handle the situation as we have done recently against Bolton, Blackburn and Chelsea.

"Remember, the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United have come here and not taken anything from us in the league.

"We have to remain positive and hope we get a result to take us into the last game against Bolton. This is why it is the biggest game ever for Birmingham City. I know what the result entails."

Bruce moved to St Andrews in December 2001 and led them to the top flight via the play-offs in May the following year.

The former Manchester United, Norwich and Sheffield United defender does not want to return to what is now the Coca-Cola Championship after years of improvement at Birmingham.

"As manager of the club, I look around the training ground and remember that, four years ago, we didn't have a car park, we didn't have an indoor training area and the playing pitches were a joke. The dressing rooms were horrible," said Bruce.

"Over the last four years, we've been able to put the infrastructure of the club in place. That is the reality of what it means. The gap between the Premiership and the Championship in terms of finance is massive and we have all seen what happened to the likes of Derby, Leicester and Wednesday."

Bruce added it was of paramount importance for the players to have belief. He said: "The one thing we have all tried to do is to remain positive and believe we can get out of trouble.

"We have got to get a result and I will make sure I am kept informed what is happening in the Portsmouth match [against Wigan Athletic].

"It's the biggest game in my career. There is, however, a major difference between going to win things and to avoid relegation. I remember when I was at Norwich.

"We happened to go to Chelsea for the last game of the season and had to win it to avoid relegation. We won 2-1 and I scored the winner!

"So it's a big game for us but it would be against Newcastle. It's Sod's law after the season I've had to be playing against the team I've always supported ever since I was a young lad.".

Bruce, however, hopes to be boosted by the return of leading goalscorer Jiri Jarosik and Stephen Clemence.