McLeish hails Bowyer's influence
Bowyer remains Blues' leading scorer with six goals this season and was voted man of the match by fans for his performance in the victory over Latics at St Andrew's, which came courtesy of a James McFadden penalty. But the former England player also makes a telling contribution with his words of advice in the dressing room. McLeish said: "A couple of weeks ago, I thought Lee was looking tired but, against Wigan, the batteries were recharged again and he was perpetual motion. "He was sharp to the ball. Sometimes you think 'are his wee legs going a bit' and then he comes back with a performance like that. "His performances have still been good but I thought there was a real edge to him in the Wigan game and he gets the crowd going. "Lee is also an influence off the pitch. He is a good type, the players love him, he is a very encouraging guy for his team-mates. "He will have a go when it is right but you are listening to a guy who has got authority. "When you hear 'Bow' having a go, he is somebody where you stop and think 'wait a minute, this guy is really talking some good sense'. "You can have a rant and rave at people - and I've seen managers' teeth drop out - but Bowyer does it with authority. When he says something, it means something. "Him, Barry Ferguson and Stephen Carr, three senior members, have really helped this young team to develop." McLeish also feels Bowyer has learnt to control his temper and he has seldom been in trouble with officials so far this season. He said: "Lee counts to 10 now. With the red mist, he knows now when to put the brakes on. "I spoke to him and said 'take it easy in certain moments' and he said 'don't worry gaffer, I'm fine, I'm not a wee boy any more'." Blues tackle Portsmouth in an FA Cup quarter-final next weekend but McLeish is confident his players will continue to perform at the top level in the Premier League. He said: "The players here are not the type of players here who will down tools. I don't see that in them. They are determined to win and it's the same in training every day. "They will carry on and try to get as many points as they can but it is maybe an opportunity as well for me to maybe blood players into the side and give some game play like Michel. "We don't think 50 points is an unrealistic target and anything after that will be a bonus." Wigan have now gone seven games without a win and are just one point above the bottom three to leave manager Roberto Martinez demanding an improvement in the final part of the season. He said: "As a football club, from the fans, staff, players, directors, we need to get that extra five per cent because we are in an uncomfortable position. "We need to improve. If you look at the squad we've got, we've got great quality and starting to have very good competition in certain positions. "At the moment, we are waiting for that moment of confidence, that moment of happiness, that can trigger your performance and we need to improve - everyone. "We've had some very good performances this season. We've beaten Aston Villa away, Chelsea at home, the only side to beat Burnley away before Saturday. "There are certain aspects that we need to be stronger and better at. We haven't been consistent enough. "The challenge is there for us in the last 11 games. Once we get through that, we will be able to go to another level. "If you want to play a certain way, just to avoid relegation each season, that is not what I want for Wigan. "Obviously the short term is vital but the bigger picture is why we are all working at Wigan."