Two give Bruce a boost
By Phil Jackson
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Birmingham have been boosted by the return to form and fitness of two key players.
Premiership strugglers Birmingham have been boosted by the return to form and fitness of two of their key players.
Defender Matthew Upson has returned to the fold following two months out with groin and pelvic injuries, while Jermaine Pennant believes he is currently playing the best football of his career.
Both of the former Arsenal men could feature in Sunday's crunch derby at Aston Villa, after Upson completed an hour for the reserves in a 2-0 win over Wolves.
Blues manager Steve Bruce said: "Matthew has been one of those big, big players for us over the last three or four years and to have him back available would be a massive boost.
"You are always a bit wary when people have had a long lay-off, but he is fit and healthy."
Meanwhile, former England Under-21 winger Pennant, who has starred for the club in their season-long battle against relegation, feels he may yet be worthy of a senior call.
Pennant said: "Thanks to The Blues, I have been given a role in the side that has allowed me to play the best football of my career this season. That's how good I feel about it.
"I'm not thinking too much about England at the moment and everything has to be fully focused on Birmingham staying up.
"But we all know there is a new man coming in at the start of next season with England and I'll be trying to get into the squad, just like everyone else."
Birmingham's Tunisian international Mehdi Nafti also played in the reserves win over Wolves for the first time since he suffered ruptured cruciate ligaments in his right knee, in pre-season.
Unless the club suffer a major midfield injury crisis he is unlikely to be rushed into the senior side before the end of the season.