Blues boss praises ill Gardner

Gardner, signed from Aston Villa for £3million in January, had

been rated doubtful to be fit enough to face David Moyes’ side. But

he capped another fine fightback by City who had trailed 2-0 midway

through the first half. McLeish said: “Craig was ill yesterday. He

was a doubt this morning. There has been a virus going about and

Craig was a victim. He was supposed to come in for a fitness test

this morning but told the doctor he was okay. “He started

sluggishly but he got his second wind and became a threat. “It was

a great strike from him for the goal, and, being a Birmingham fan,

I know what it will mean to him.” City remain unbeaten at home

since September and McLeish was again full of praise for his team’s

fighting qualities. He said: “That was so typical of what we have

done this season and the players just don’t give up. “Today was

another example. Everton could have blown us away in the first 20

minutes. “We had an early warning when Joe Hart made a good early

save but we didn’t heed it. We were quickly two goals down and

Everton were strutting their stuff. We knew we had to up the tempo.

“We said at half-time about making sure we didn’t give Everton too

much respect and we came back strongly in the second half.” David

Moyes felt that his side had thrown away two points but is playing

down talk about chasing a Europa League spot. He said: “I was

pleased with the performance but not the result. We played very

well at times. “We scored two goals and should have been more ahead

but for their goalkeeper. He made a couple of great saves, but

you’ve got to credit Birmingham with coming back into it the way

that they did.” Regarding the Europa League Moyes said: “We have

not been talking about seventh place and what that might entail.

“I’ve said all along that we have a long way to catch up. We’re

just going to try and win as many games as we can. “All we are

trying to do is finish as high up the table as we can.” Moyes will

continue to try and extend the loan spell of Landon Donovan who has

been with Everton for the past dozen games on a temporary basis

from LA Galaxy. Donovan is set to fly home tomorrow and threw his

shirt into the area of the ground holding the Everton fans at the

final whistle. Moyes said: “He is on a plane home tomorrow. We are

still trying to do something. You never know, who knows?”