McLeish to stay as Blues chief

The Blues board acted within 24 hours of the 2-1 defeat at

Tottenham, which confirmed their relegation, to state McLeish is

the man they want to lead them out of the Championship. But there

is no doubt McLeish will have a very different squad at his

disposal when the Championship campaign gets under way in August

after the loss of around £25 million in revenue via

relegation. McLeish said: “I will speak to them. There are one or

two that are out of contract and we have to decide what is

happening. “Some of the guys will have other options and we

appreciate that. “The fact is we are in the Championship and not

the Premier League and I’m sure they’ll have choices. “It’s tough

on us to be relegated but we don’t lie down and bury our heads in

the sand. “We’ve got to get on with the next challenge. We’ve got

to show leadership.” The likes of Sebastian Larsson, Kevin

Phillips, Martin Jiranek and Lee Bowyer are at the end of their

current contracts. Alexander Hleb, David Bentley, Matt Derbyshire

and Obafemi Martins will return to their parent clubs after loan

spells. Ben Foster, Roger Johnson, Scott Dann, Cameron Jerome and

Nikola Zigic could be targets for Premier League predators. McLeish

led City to promotion in his first full season, their ninth-place

finish in 2009-2010 was their highest in the top flight and this

season they lifted the Carling Cup. But the statement from acting

chairman Peter Pannu makes it clear that regaining Premier League

status in 2011-2012 is of paramount importance. Pannu told

bcfc.com: “The board regrets yesterday’s result and subsequent

relegation and feels that supporters, who have continued to back us

magnificently, have been let down. “The club can confirm that

manager Alex McLeish’s job is safe but that the board will expect

him to lead the side back to the Barclays Premier League in the

2011-12 season.” Pannu added: “The board will take stock of what

went wrong this season despite Carson Yeung’s promised injection of

£40million in funds – not £80m as the media wrongly

assumed. “The board will closely discuss and implement appropriate

procedures to ensure a speedy return to the top flight. “Finally a

word for our terrific supporters, who are no doubt feeling the pain

today like everyone else connected with the club. “We thank you for

your tremendous backing – something we are confident we will still

have moving forward as we embark on looking to make an immediate

return to the Barclays Premier League.”