Paul Scharner could be a key player for Albion’s survival programme, according to Baggies legend Brendon Batson.
The 57-year-old has been impressed by what he has seen from Albion this term and believes the Austrian, signed on a free transfer, could be a significant arrival for Roberto Di Matteo’s men.
Batson, who made 173 appearances for Albion during the late 1970s and early 1980s, believes this season is the strongest his former club have looked for some time.
“Paul Scharner is a good player,” said Batson, who carved out a successful career as a football administrator following his premature retirement due to a knee injury.
“He’s one of those who has a presence and character and can play in a number of positions. I’ve liked him for some time. And I’m optimistic for this season but, inevitably, it will be tough.
“You need people who know about the Premier League and I think Albion have done that with some of the signings.
“It’s not just about ability but about character and will. Birmingham got the blend right last season and they’re continuing that into this season. It’s given them confidence.”
Batson was today setting off on a 130-mile charity bike ride in aid of Birmingham’s St Mary’s Hospice, whose staff looked after his wife Cecily during her battle with a brain tumour.
He will start his journey at the church in Essex where they got married in 1974 before arriving at The Hawthorns before the clash with Blues on Saturday – the first anniversary of Cecily’s death.
Batson added: “From the end of the July to September 18 the hospice were fantastic.
“Until you experience something like this you don’t appreciate how magnificent their work is.
“In the New Year I wanted to know how I could support the hospice – and I wanted to be away sometime leading up to the anniversary – so this seemed like a good idea.
“I wanted to do something which would allow me to reflect and, at the same time, raise money.
“Starting the ride from the church where we married in Chingford seemed appropriate.”