Sam expects Blues to get stronger
Allardyce has been very impressed by the job McLeish has done this season in steering the Blues to mid-table respectability following promotion from the Championship last May. In contrast, Rovers are still not safe as they go into Wednesday night's clash between the two sides at Ewood Park nine points and three places behind Birmingham who occupy ninth. Allardyce feels Birmingham under McLeish will continue to improve if new owner Carson Yeung backs the Scot over the summer. "The organisation under Alex and his staff has produced a very well structured and hard-working team," assessed Allardyce. "He plays with a front two who are very quick and tricky, and then you have the experience behind that of Lee Bowyer, Barry Ferguson and Stephen Carr which stands them in good stead. "But this year the major find has been the goalkeeper in Joe Hart, who has as many clean sheets (nine) as anybody else in the Premier League. "They've forged their way up the table with a number of 1-0 wins that have brought those very precious three points. "They've also a new owner who seems to be putting a bit more money in than the previous ones. "If he goes and continues to spend it, then Birmingham will become a bigger force next season than this." With Blackburn 11 points above the relegation zone, Allardyce is now focusing on a concerted charge up the table to finish the season, in particular with each additional place worth £750,000. When it comes to Allardyce's own hopes of buying new players this summer, all additional funds will be gratefully received. Allardyce knows, though, after tonight's game his players have to improve on an away record that has seen them win just one of 16 games on the road, taking a miserable six points. "With our home form we have to view Birmingham as an opportunity to win, as good a season as they've had," added Allardyce. "But we have to turn around these away results, and there shouldn't be a better opportunity than playing two teams in the bottom three in Burnley and Portsmouth next. "It's been a real Jekyll and Hyde season for us as we're showing Champions League form at home and relegation form away. "Our push is to finish the last eight matches with a good run of results, then relax, enjoy the summer and try and build on what we have achieved this season." Allardyce will again almost certainly be without goalkeeper Paul Robinson (calf), captain Ryan Nelsen (knee), Gael Givet (groin), Lars Jacobsen (hernia) and Vince Grella (calf). Loan striker Franco di Santo is available after being ineligible to face parent club Chelsea, whilst midfielder David Dunn looks set to figure after coming off in that game with tightness in his calves.