Andy Gray has delivered a damning verdict on the survival chances of both Albion and Birmingham after admitting he fears Portsmouth will emerge victorious from the relegation quagmire.
Former Villa and Albion striker Gray, now a respected pundit, admits he was lost for words when he happened upon Steve Bruce after their chastening experience against Liverpool.
"Football is a fickle business," said Gray. "18 months ago the fans were urging him not to leave for Newcastle and calling on the board to give him a job for life. Now they're calling for his head.
"Steve knows that he might not be in a job in a couple of weeks' time. He faces a huge test of character and the first thing he must do is lift himself.
"I've never seen him more devastated. I didn't know what to say. It felt like intruding on private grief. It was a horrendous evening for the club.
"In the next few weeks he will learn plenty about both himself and his players. And what he will learn, especially about himself, will, I think shape the rest of his managerial career."
Gray is adamant Portsmouth's recent upsurge in form will scupper any hopes Birmingham and Albion have of appearing in the Premiership next term.
"Two weeks ago, if you asked me who would avoid the drop, I would have written off Portsmouth. I thought they were dead and buried," continued Gray.
"But two wins later, everything has changed. If I had to back one of Birmingham, West Brom or Portsmouth to survive; I would definitely bet on Pompey.
"The run-ins of West Brom and Birmingham are absolutely horrendous. I'm struggling to see from where they can pinch even a few points.
"By comparison, Portsmouth's remaining fixtures are much, much easier. Moreover, they have momentum, and I can't tell you how important that is."