League is the priority - McLeish

BY foxsports • February 11, 2011

Blues face three successive home league games, starting with Saturday's clash with Stoke, which will be vital to their hopes of moving clear of the bottom three. They then entertain Newcastle on Tuesday before facing West Brom at St Andrew's. City were given a reminder of the Carling final with Arsenal on February 27 this week with a photo-shoot and advance media requirements. But McLeish is adamant the focus of his players will remain firmly on the games immediately on the horizon. He said: "We've had to do some things in advance for the Carling Cup final, the match programme, pictures, things like that. "It is a wee reminder of how well we've done in getting to the final. "But it is firmly at the back of the players heads in terms of the big day itself. "That will take care of itself. We have to get back to the bread and butter of the Barclays Premier League first. "We've had a good three or four weeks but there is no respite and we've got to keep going and the players have got to keep challenging themselves. "The mental toughness they have shown over the last couple of weeks has been fantastic and they have got to build on that." McLeish is challenging his players to achieve back to back league wins for the first time in over a year after last weekend's vital victory at West Ham. He said: "That is the next challenge for us. We've got home games coming up, again no easy games. We know what it is like. "We've seen Wolves beat Manchester United and people think, because you're in the bottom half of the table, you should be a walkover. It is just not the case. "How many points do I want from these three games? I'd like to get them all. We know how difficult that will be. "It's a huge challenge to us and the other teams will want to have something to say about that. "If we show the kind of commitment we have shown in recent weeks in those games, whatever the results, you can't fault the players. "You could drop points. We know that. But I think if we are comfortable and relaxed with that in our heads, we can hopefully play enough good football to steer us to the victories." McLeish is setting no points target in the battle to secure top-flight football at Birmingham for a second successive season. He said: "The goal is just to make sure you stay up. You can't guarantee that but that is what everyone is striving for. "Whether it is 30-something points, whether it is 40-something points, whether it is on goal difference, it doesn't really matter. "I just know we've got to concentrate on winning the next game." McLeish is considering putting newcomer, striker Obafemi Martins, straight into his starting line-up despite not having played any competitive football for two months. He said: "Obafemi has trained this week, he is looking good in training. It was good to see him out there after finally getting the visa he was waiting for last week. "I think he can bring something to this squad. He is looking very sharp so it (starting him) is something I will have to consider." McLeish admits Stoke are the kind of role model for Birmingham to try and emulate. He said: "Tony Pulis has done a fantastic job. We should try and emulate them and they are a kind of role model for us. "People say 'little Stoke' but they've spent a few quid and they have spent it wisely. "Tony knows what it takes to win. He gets them over the line and he has done that for the last couple of years. "They are in their third year in the Premier League and Tony said again the main thing was for them to stay in the league again."

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