It was with no little relief that Alex McLeish last night welcomed James McFadden's expression of loyalty to beleaguered Birmingham City and also praised his star striker for the commitment he has shown in bouncing back from injury.

McFadden, who earlier this week was named Scottish Football Writers' Association player of the year for his performances in the dark blue of Scotland, used his coronation as an opportunity to take an oath of allegiance to Birmingham despite the likelihood they will be relegated on Sunday afternoon.

The 25-year-old was McLeish's top target in January's transfer window and having paid a handsome £5 million for the man he believed would fire the club to safety, the City manager would have been embarrassed had McFadden decided to move on rather than play in the Coca-Cola Championship. It is now clear that will not happen, however.

McLeish maintains his compatriot wants to stay at St Andrew's because of what Birmingham City can be rather than what they are at the moment - a bottom-three team whose results have fallen through the floor.

Birmingham must beat Blackburn Rovers this weekend and hope neither Fulham nor Reading win to avoid a second demotion in as many Premier League seasons and with that in mind, McFadden's comments could not come at a better time.

"It's great James has nailed his colours to the mast. I believe he has come here for the long haul. He sees the potential of the club," McLeish said. "He started on fire and he has had to come through a lot in the last three or four weeks himself.

"Getting a knee injury at this stage of the season wasn't ideal for the boy or the club, but he came back and turned up for his work 16 days later. That tells you everything about the attitude of James and the type of player I would like to have at Birmingham City.

"I am still positive about the outcome this weekend but if it doesn't go as planned, if we have the ambition [2014] I certainly do and everybody with the best interests of the club has that same ambition to do well, we need people like McFadden to be committed at whatever level we are playing at."

McFadden admitted he feared for the club's top-flight status but acknowledged that McLeish's work at Birmingham was a long-term project in which he was keen to be involved.

"There is a good chance we could go down but I only joined in January and I am in no hurry to leave," said McFadden. "The pressure is off us in a way because we are in the bottom three, but we know it is must-win against Blackburn.

"If we go down, it is not a question of what's going to happen to the manager because, when he was appointed, it was not with a quick fix in mind.

"He will be here regardless and, if we go down, then at least I know that if I am playing every week and scoring goals, it should not make that much of a difference to my international prospects."

Another player who will be remaining with the club is teenage defender Krystian Pearce who yesterday agreed a two-year deal that will extend his relationship with Birmingham to beyond a decade.

Pearce joined City's academy at ten years of age and became a full-time scholar in 2006. This season, he has had a loan spell at Port Vale where he made 12 appearances, as well as spending two months at Notts County. The 18-year-old is also a England Under 19 regular and will travel to Belarus next month for the Elite Round of qualifying for the European U-19 Championships.

"We've given him a new two-year deal because we think he's got potential," McLeish said. "He's athletic, strong and has great presence. Krystian's challenge now is to prove that he can be a Birmingham City first-team player."