McLeish backing for Derbyshire

BY foxsports • January 9, 2011

Derbyshire has struggled to make an impact since his summer loan move from Olympiacos but was on fine form on Saturday, grabbing a well-taken double in the 4-1 destruction of the Championship side at the New Den. The former Blackburn man opened the scoring with a deft chip before sneaking in behind the Lions defence to score the third in a victory that puts McLeish's side into the fourth round of the FA Cup. Birmingham's poor scoring record in the league - where they average just one goal a game - has led to McLeish step up his efforts to bolster his strike force by targeting Rangers striker Kenny Miller, who is expected to sign next week. But Miller may face strong competition for a place up front from Derbyshire if he builds on today's efforts and McLeish hopes the double strike will give the 24-year-old some much-needed confidence. "Matt has been waiting for his opportunity. He played in a couple of Carling Cup games but looked a little short of fitness in the first few months, but those goals will do his confidence the world of good," said McLeish. "Strikers thrive on confidence and he will benefit from that. He did well with his first goal and it was great to see it nestling in the back of the net." Derbyshire's double was complemented by a fine curling free-kick from David Murphy and Cameron Jerome's fourth of the season to seal Blues' second win this week after Tuesday's victory over Blackpool on Tuesday. Derbyshire's loan is due to expire at the end of the season but McLeish was non-committal on the hitman's chances of making his move permanent. He said: "He is on loan until the end of the season. I have been waiting for the strikers to settle from the start of the season. "We have worked hard and I cannot fault them with their efforts but they have been unfortunate with the finishing side of things. "I believe there are goals in this side and Cameron and Matt showed that today. "Cameron is normally worth 10-12 goals a season. He just needs a little break." Millwall pressured their opponents for large parts of the game but the gulf in class was evident from their failure to test Blues goalkeeper Maik Taylor, who was only beaten by an injury-time consolation from Danny Schofield. McLeish admitted that his side's finishing, and their creativity in midfield, were key to the victory. "It is a fine line between winning and losing and although the scoreline seems like it was a walk in the park, it wasn't," said McLeish, who made seven changes to the side for the match. "Millwall had chances but the first goal settled us. If it had gone the other way it would have been game on and a complete change psychologically for our players. "The play of Alexander Hleb and (Jean) Beausejour definitely made a difference for us with their threading of their through balls." Kenny Jackett, who had led Millwall through an unbeaten eight-match run, admitted that the hammering was hard to take. "We're disappointed with the result," Jackett said. "We wanted to try and cause an upset. Birmingham were clinical and that made the difference." The Lions boss said his side had been hampered by the absence of Jason Puncheon, who returned to Southampton this week after scoring five goals in a month-long loan spell, and admits he wants the midfielder back at the New Den. "Jason scored five goals in seven matches and he is under contract at Southampton," Jackett said. "We are keen on Jason. We'll see what comes about in terms of who's out there. He is still a target."


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