Birmingham City’s Radhi Jaidi has been ruled out of action for three games because of a thigh injury. The big defender returned from international duty with Tunisia with the problem and will now miss Saturday's trip to Burnley, plus Tuesday’s visit of Crystal Palace and next weekend’s clash against Sheffield Wednesday at St Andrew’s.
It is a big blow for Jaidi, who had to wait for his chance to establish himself because of Martin Taylor’s excellent early season form. Since replacing Taylor in the match at Cardiff, 33-year-old Jaidi has been outstanding, forming a solid partnership with Liam Ridgewell.
“Jaidi picked up an injury in training with Tunisia and didn’t even get to play in their games,” explained manager Alex McLeish.
“Whether he has been unlucky or whether it was a heavy training session he didn’t really need, I don’t know. I can’t really second-guess what the Tunisians were doing in training. I would like to think that it wasn’t excessive training that’s done this to him.
“Radhi has been excellent. He’s come back in and had three stormers.”
McLeish said he had no fears about throwing Taylor back into action. The 28-year-old was dropped after the home defeat to Blackpool but McLeish said at the time that the defender was not being used as a scapegoat for that performance.
Taylor is set for a hot reception from the Burnley fans at Turf Moor as he spent seven years at the Clarets’ bitter rivals Blackburn Rovers before joining Blues.
“He (Taylor) started the season very solidly and he’s got to give us those kinds of performances again,” McLeish said.
Jaidi’s injury means McLeish is light on defensive cover as Stephen Kelly is still several weeks away from a return after picking up a thigh injury. Franck Queudrue is likely to come into the squad as he can play anywhere across the back four but besides the Frenchman, McLeish has very few options and admitted it is a situation he needs to address.
“You think you’ve got a big squad and you’re looking at the subs bench and leaving top players off the bench, like I’ve had to do with Gary McSheffrey and Marcus Bent recently,” he said..
“Then you get one or two injuries and suddenly you’re down to 15 or 16 players. On Saturday we’ve only got cover of one defender, Franck.
“We could look at using a loan and there are one or two situations where players are up for grabs so we will see.”
McLeish was full of praise for the job Burnley manager Owen Coyle has done to turn his side’s season around after a terrible start. The Clarets lost their opening two league games heavily but are now unbeaten in six games on home soil, but Blues are unbeaten away from home this season and have won on their last two visits to Turf Moor. However, McLeish is expecting another tough test for his Championship leaders.
“Burnley is always a tough place to go to and Owen Coyle has revived them,” McLeish said. “They did have a sticky start to the season but we know what to expect.
“We will go there full of confidence because we are top of the league and we know that in attack we have the players who can make the difference.”
Meanwhile, McLeish has revealed that he will wait another couple of weeks before deciding whether to take midfielder Nigel Quashie on loan. The former West Bromwich Albion and Scotland player has been training for over a month with Blues, and played in three friendly games with a view to a loan move from West Ham United.
However, after the distressing death of his mother through cancer, McLeish said he would give the 30-year-old more time to prove his fitness.
“He has had a difficult two weeks,” McLeish said. “He didn’t miss a training session but the travelling to and from London must have been tiring. We are looking for a wee bit more fitness and sharpness.”
McLeish said he could also take up the option of extending winger Quincy’s stay at St Andrew’s. The Ghana international is on loan from Spartak Moscow until January.