Zigic ready to play
Nikola Zigic has been backed by manager Alex McLeish to overcome the trauma he suffered in midweek.
Last Updated: 15/10/10 3:49pm
Birmingham striker Nikola Zigic has been backed by manager Alex McLeish to overcome the trauma he suffered in midweek with Serbia.
The lofty striker was part of the Serbia side that saw their game against Genoa abandoned after nine minutes due to crowd trouble.
Fans also threw fireworks and flares thrown onto the pitch, while the Serbia team bus was also attacked before the game prompting goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic to refuse to take the field.
With striker Cameron Jerome doubtful for the game against Arsenal at the Emirates due to an ankle injury, Zigic is in line to make his first competitive start.
"We've spoken only briefly about what happened in the week. Nikola said it was absolute bedlam, crazy," said McLeish.
"Is he in the right frame of mind? You have to ask that question of every one of the Serbian players.
"I wouldn't think that every Serbian player involved the other night would be affected and wouldn't want to play this weekend.
"Personally if it was me, I would want to get over it.
"I know it must have been a dangerous situation with the flare coming on the bus and injuring the keeper.
"But Nikola knows he is going to be safe at the Emirates and there is no danger that he wouldn't want to play."
Zigic arrived in England in the summer from Valencia in a reported £6million deal but has so far failed to show the form that made him so coveted around Europe.
"I am not going to criticise any individual but suffice to say Nikola is trying to find his feet," added McLeish.
"Sometimes when players are striving for that, there is also a confidence factor to take into account.
"There is loads to come from the big man. There is no doubt about it. He has settled in, he is a bit fitter now.
"He should be ready to participate and help us get over the current wee stutter we are experiencing."
The match will also pit former Gunner Alexander Hleb against his former club having recovered from an ankle complaint that kept him out of international duty.
Like Zigic, he too, has not been at his best but with his improving fitness, the Blues chief is confident he will be at his bewitching best very soon.
McLeish added: "I'm sure Alex will have an extra bit of adrenalin there against his old team. But if you're not 100 percent match fit, you're not 100 percent match fit.
"It doesn't mean all of a sudden you're going to be that. But I think he's getting there.
"During the game, there were signs that the longer it went on, he was starting to be an influence for us. That's what we expect him to be in the Birmingham colours.
"He has still to find his top level and hopefully when he does that, the whole team will find its top level."