Birmingham City return to the scene of arguably Alex McLeish’s greatest disappointment on Sunday.

A visit to Fulham’s Craven Cottage brings back painful memories for the Blues boss and his side.

Two years ago, on the penultimate day of the season, Blues faced Fulham in a winner-take-all encounter.

Blues were two points ahead of Fulham, in 18th place in the Premier League table.

The previous fixture, Blues had surrendered a two-goal lead at home to Liverpool and drawn, while Fulham had come from behind to win an amazing game at Manchester City, scoring three times in the final 20 minutes.

Coming to half-time, there was nothing to chose between the teams. Then Liam Ridgewell landed awkwardly and turned his ankle.

Ridgewell had been enjoying his best performance for weeks, too. Blues looked sturdy.

But a reshuffle had to be made and Franck Queudrue replaced him for the second-half at centre-back.

Seven minutes into the second period Brian McBride got loose at a free-kick and headed Fulham into the lead.

Blues strained for all their worth to get on level terms but couldn’t break down the Cottagers.

With three minutes to go, their fate was sealed when Queudrue’s suicidal back header to Maik Taylor was snaffled up by Erik Nevland.

The result effectively extinguished Blues chances of avoiding relegation. Although they beat Blackburn Rovers in their last match, Fulham won at Portsmouth.

Since that ignominious day, Fulham have gone from strength to strength, while McLeish and Blues had to regroup and negotiate the Championship.

It confirmed his belief that Blues needed more players who could take the ball and pass it; who had quality and a mental capacity to cope.

Undoubtedly, the way McLeish has reconstructed Blues since then, and the manner in which they have performed in the Premier League on their return, has been highly impressive.

Whereas in 2007-08 they seemingly found ways to lose or draw games from decent positions, or when there was not much in them, now they have that winning habit.

Fulham, who went on to qualify for Europe while Blues were slugging it out in the Championship, have shown the way ahead and what can be achieved.

Blues have recovered from the depressing end to that season and, by and large, reinvented themselves.

It should be much more of an even battle come 3pm on Sunday.