McLeish calls for heroes
Birmingham boss Alex McLeish believes his players will "become heroes overnight" if they beat Villa.
By Ben Collins
Last Updated: 18/04/08 10:22am
Birmingham boss Alex McLeish believes his players will "become heroes overnight" if they win Sunday's derby clash with Aston Villa.
Not only would victory at Villa Park be savoured by the Blues' fans but it would put McLeish's men on the brink of Premier League survival.
The former Scotland boss accepts the Blues are underdogs with Villa having scored 10 goals in their last two games to stay in the hunt for Europe.
Birmingham have managed to stay clear of the drop zone on the back of an impressive home record and McLeish is hoping they can replicate that form as they make the short trip across town.
"We are not favourites but, in approaching this game, I don't think we will move too far from the template we put down to the players when I first arrived here," he said.
"It is a derby game, they will be up for it, and Villa on paper should win.
"They have been in scintillating form and their confidence will have rocketed after two performances laced with goals.
"It is a tough game for us but I also say it is the occasion where people can become heroes overnight."
Mauro Zarate's late equaliser gave Birmingham a 1-1 draw against Everton last week and it proved to be a valuable point with Bolton and Fulham closing the gap at the bottom of the table with much-needed victories.
"We have to give everything and I am sure Roy Hodgson at Fulham and Gary Megson at Bolton will be saying the same thing as me to their players," McLeish added.
"But last weekend I saw a brilliant performance against a very good Everton team. It was only the finishing touch that let us down and some terrific stops by (goalkeeper) Tim Howard.
"Now we have to try to repeat that type of showing at Villa Park. I don't think that we are a brilliant passing team but we do play good tempo football.
"I know there have been a few draws but the performances have been good by and large.
"We are not scared by the challenges ahead. We have just got to be ready for the next challenge which is Aston Villa and then we will look at the one after that."