Alex McLeish has spoken of his belief in his players ability to respond positively from any mishap.
Birmingham City have to prepare for Saturday’s important game at home to Reading on the back of a deflating defeat at Preston North End.
The manner of it, second-placed Blues falling to a stoppage-time goal, and having had their lead cut to just a single point over third-placed Reading in the Championship table, will undoubtedly make for a tense lunchtime meeting. But the Blues manager doesn’t do doom and gloom; he said he was looking forward to the match.
“Reading are a very good side, they were considered one of the favourites for promotion before the season started and it’s no surprise how well they have done.” he said.
“Our result was very disappointing, I felt sick to the pit of my stomach that we conceded so late on. But we go again and we will look forward to the challenge this weekend.
“Reading have closed the gap on us, but we still have one more point than them and that means we’ve had a better first-half of the season than them.
“We have to draw a lot of confidence from that. And before, when we have had setbacks, the response from the players has been very good. I don’t see why that won’t be any different.”
McLeish has to make at least one change to his team due to Liam Ridgewell’s suspension. He received his fifth booking of the season for a high challenge on Eddie Nolan at Deepdale.
Martin Taylor should therefore return to the line up and McLeish said he was happy at the way his squad, and players like Taylor, had taken to being in and out of the picture.
“I think the mentality of this group is good,” he said. “The guys who have come in for the regular starters who have got out of the team because of injury or whatever have done us proud.
“Sometimes they maybe don’t get too much match fitness.
“But we have got a fitness coach who tops them up and the players themselves know that even if they don’t play in the team, they have to be absolutely 100 per cent ready when they get the call.
“Over the last few weeks they’ve done that, and it’s a tribute to them.”
Sebastian Larsson missed a second successive game due to a groin strain, but could be ready to return against the Royals. James McFadden had targeted Saturday’s fixture for his comeback from a similar problem, but McLeish won’t take any unnecessary risks with him.
Blues, meanwhile, have been linked with Hannover’s Hungary international winger Szabolcs Huszti, who is out of contract in the summer.
Celtic have reportedly now moved to the head of the queue for Huszti, with Everton, Bolton Wanderers and Blackburn Rovers all monitoring the situation.
Reports claiming that Blues are preparing a £4?million bid for Peterborough United striker Craig Mackail-Smith during the January transfer window should be treated with incredulity.
Posh director of football and ex-Blues manager Barry Fry has also rubbished the suggestion.