McLeish loves being level with Reds

McLeish’s squad were written off as likely relegation candidates at

the start of the campaign following their promotion from the

Championship as runners-up to Wolves. But they have 24 points – the

same as the Reds – after a seven-game unbeaten run and they will be

aiming for a fifth successive win in Tuesday’s home meeting with

Blackburn. But McLeish has his feet firmly on the ground and knows

the situation can quickly alter if his players become complacent.

He said: “We’ve reached the giddy heights of eighth position but we

have to move on. We don’t look back and the focus is on winning the

next game. “We have home advantage. It is always an opportunity at

home if you have got half a decent side and I’ve certainly got

that. “After 16 games, to think we would be level on points with

Liverpool is stuff that dreams are made of. “I am sure Liverpool

won’t be looking at it like that but we have to be proud of what we

have achieved so far. “But we know this league is so unpredictable

in terms of results. You see Wigan lose 9-1 to Spurs and then come

up with a couple of brilliant results. “You can’t rule anything or

anyone out and we have got to earn the right to win. “We have to be

relentless and the challenge for the players is to keep producing

top-drawer performances.” McLeish has a few experienced campaigners

he can rely on to ensure the players remain focused. He said: “I’ve

got a few generals in my dressing room. There are some experienced

players who will have a snarl at half-time if things are not

working out. “There are a few players who like to be heard but I

don’t mind that at all. “They are the sort of people who are

leaders even if their own form is not the best. They still keep

driving the team even if they are off the boil themselves.” McLeish

claims the City fans have a key part to play in helping Blues

maintain their current lofty standing. He said: “It was fantastic

on Saturday to see St Andrew’s full and there is a real positive

buzz about the place. “You sense the crowd is getting back to the

kind of atmosphere that away teams did not relish a few years ago.

“The fans can have a really big part to play and it certainly

drives the players on if they come out to a full house.” McLeish

will have money to spend in the January transfer window with new

owner Carson Yeung pledging up to £40million. But the

former Scotland manager is conscious of bringing in the right sort

of player to ensure dressing-room harmony is not affected. He said:

“One player can transform a team and we want to bring quality in.

The team is a bit fragile in some positions and if we get key

players injured it would be difficult to replace them. “But we

don’t want to make too big a leap in terms of superstars coming in

on big fees and we want to make sure the dressing room stays as

strong as it is now.” McLeish has no major new injury concerns for

the meeting with Rovers and is likely to name an unchanged team.

Veteran midfielder Lee Carsley is suffering from a stiff back but

is expected to recover.