Muzzy Izzet knows a thing or two about man-management, having worked with one of the finest of a generation in Martin O'Neill.

However, the Birmingham City midfielder is convinced that Steve Bruce's ability to coax the best out of both him and his team-mates will be pivotal to their chances of avoiding the drop into the Championship.

Bruce has admitted that his own strengths lie in the art of man-management, rather than convoluted tactical meetings with his players, but every member of the squad and management staff has come under the micro-scope this season, as results have failed to live up to expectations.

However, with seven points pocketed out of the last nine available at St Andrew's, Izzet is cautiously optimistic that Blues can turn the corner and repel the threat of relegation.

It was no coincidence that their best home performance of the season, Monday's 2-0 defeat of Wigan Athletic, saw Izzet pulling the strings in midfield.

He was thrust back into action at short notice, but insisted that he had thrived on the responsibility Bruce placed on his shoulders.

"I like the fact that he has got confidence in me, after one day's training, to go out there and perform," said

Izzet. "When a manager thinks that about you, it sometimes gets the best out of the player.

"It is part of being a good man-manager and sometimes it can make you want to stick your chest out and work harder for him.

"Martin O'Neill [with whom Izzet worked at Leicester City] always used to do it with his whole team. If he thought you were important enough, or that you were in his first eleven then, no matter what, he would always play you.

"Regardless of whether you lasted 20, 40 or 60 minutes, he would always start you and he always liked to put out his strongest team on paper.

"I think that is what the gaffer would like to do here. We have a big squad of players who can come in; people such as Nicky Butt and Stephen Clemence who will all do good jobs under the same circumstances, so it isn't just me.

"We have players in all areas who can do that and Martin was the same with Emile Heskey at Leicester. If Emile didn't train for three weeks, but was fit for the Friday, then he would play on Saturday.

"He put that importance on you and said 'can you give me 20 minutes or whatever?' and I think the team responded to that.

"That is part of manmanagement and breeds confidence in players."

However, while Izzet is willing to compare Bruce with the Irishman, he can see few similarities between the Leicester squad that was relegated in 2004 and the current crop of talent at St Andrew's.

The Foxes were deep in financial trouble and had won promotion despite being in administration in 2003.

Nevertheless, the squad of players were punching well above their weight and Izzet is at pains to point out the differences between then and now.

"This squad is completely different," he surmised.

"When we went down with Leicester, we had a squad of players built from First and Second DIvision teams and we tried to stay up that way.

"Looking at it with hindsight, it was the wrong thing to do. If you look at some of the players we have got here, such as the internationals, you can't compare the teams.

"I am confident we can survive, but it is one thing being confident; you have to take it out on the pitch and show people why we shouldn't be second from bottom.

"We thought we were going to be a mid-table side at this stage of the season, but it clearly hasn't worked out that way as our home form has been poor.

"If you want to give yourselves a chance to stay up and progress in this league, then you need your home form to be good.

"During the first half of the season, it wasn't and that is why we are where we are."