Bad memories for Big Eck

BY foxsports • November 18, 2011

McLeish won his 20th trophy in February when he led Birmingham to a shock Carling Cup final victory over Arsenal at Wembley. But three months later the joy had turned to despair with Blues relegated from the top flight following a 2-1 defeat at White Hart Lane on the final day of the season. McLeish is now looking forward with optimism at Villa and hopes to have striker Gabriel Agbonlahor available after he missed England's friendlies against Spain and Sweden with a hamstring problem. But that day in north London still hurts for the proud Scot. He said: "We played a great game that day. I just think events conspired against us and maybe in the previous weeks, the damage was done. "Spurs scored a late goal but only because we threw the kitchen sink at them at the end and left the back door open because we needed a win. "If we had only needed a draw, we would have achieved that without any problem. "It was very sad considering a cup was won three months before that but circumstances conspired against us. "After the final, we never saw four or five players for the rest of the season and, when you lose a bit of quality from your team, that makes it harder. "I've got good memories at White Hart Lane as well - my first game as Birmingham manager was a 3-2 win there - but that day in May rankles as one of the worst of my career. "Now I'm at Villa and we will look to get a positive result at White Hart Lane." Spurs boss Harry Redknapp could return to the dug-out against Villa after his recent heart procedure. McLeish has reiterated his belief that Redknapp would be an ideal candidate to replace Fabio Capello as England manager after the Euro 2012 finals. He said: "Harry is probably the most capable candidate if Fabio Capello decides to go. "Harry has got all the credentials, the experience that you would think it takes to manage a very difficult job. "It is one of the biggest jobs in the world." McLeish confirmed he will continue to consider midfielder Barry Bannan for selection after he was charged with four motoring offences, including drink-driving, by police this week. He said: "Barry was available for the last game with Norwich and he is going to be available for this one. "He has knuckled down. He is going to do everything he can to get back into the team." Agbonlahor is set to return to training tomorrow and skipper Stiliyan Petrov has recovered from a hamstring injury suffered against Norwich a fortnight ago. But on-loan Tottenham midfielder Jermaine Jenas, who made his Villa debut against the Canaries, is ineligible to face his parent club.

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