Alex McLeish said he would try to protect his Birmingham City players as the pressure mounts at St Andrew's.

Blues slipped into the relegation places following their frustrating draw with rock-bottom Derby County. Birmingham have 13 games left to claw their way back above the drop zone and the tension was palpable at a subdued and nervous St Andrew's on Saturday.

Chairman David Gold said everyone at the club was feeling the pressure of a second scrap for Premier League survival in three seasons, following a run that has seen Blues pick up just three points from the last six games. They are also yet to taste victory in 2008.

"I don't want to put pressure on the players or the manager, but we are all under pressure; the fans are under pressure and the board is under pressure," Gold said.

"We are all in this together. The pressure is on all of us."

Derby manager Paul Jewell said he knew the mounting tension on Blues would benefit his side, who have already resigned themselves to relegation and an instant return to the Championship.

"We wanted to come to St Andrew's and really take the game to Birmingham because they are in a tough situation," said Jewell, who was linked with the Blues job before he joined Derby.

"Their chairman put in his programme notes that it was a must-win game and we thought the crowd might be a bit edgy.

"You don't take any notice of what chairmen say. I didn't think it was derogatory, if I was in Birmingham's shoes I would have thought it was a must-win game as well. But I knew they would be edgy and even when we went a goal down, I thought we would get something out of the game."

However, McLeish said he would do whatever it took to shelter his squad from the weight of expectation to stay in the division.

"I will try to take as much pressure away from the players as I can," he said. "Wigan have been in the bottom three but they have shown they have the character to get out of it. Other clubs have been there and it gives us the belief that we can get out of trouble.

"It is a huge challenge for the players but I am sure they can play out of their skins and get the necessary points to keep us up.

"It is up to everyone to stick together and if the players can find another few percent, then we will be okay."