Football

McLeish hails resilient Blues

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Birmingham boss Alex McLeish was put through the cup wringer again by his team before emerging with another victory in today's FA Cup fourth-round clash against Coventry at St Andrew's.

Three days after coming from 3-1 down on aggregate to beat West Ham and reach the Carling Cup final, Blues were two down inside 26 minutes through goals from Marlon King and Richard Wood before David Bentley, Stuart Parnaby and Kevin Phillips secured a 3-2 victory.

McLeish said: "I wouldn't want to live through that too often with the stress levels but I thought the team played well. There was a lot of really good stuff."

One of the few disappointing performances came from giant striker Nikola Zigic, and McLeish today confirmed Racing Santander have made an enquiry to take their former player back. The Scot, though, insisted no decision has been made and denied Zigic would definitely be on his way if the club agree a loan deal for Rubin Kazan striker Obafemi Martins.

"Santander have been in touch but we'll be together in the decision with the board as we always are," said McLeish. "I said after the midweek game that it would be difficult to let Ziggy go on that kind of form."

Of the prospect of landing former Newcastle forward Martins, the Blues boss added: "We're trying to get him. We're working hard on that but it's not a done deal yet."

McLeish made nine changes from the win over West Ham, and he praised the never-say-die attitude of his players.

"We shouldn't have made it hard for ourselves because we started great," he said. "Coventry are obviously very dangerous up front. The big lad (Clive) Platt was a handful and of course we all know about Marlon King. But I knew there was goals in it for us."

Coventry boss Aidy Boothroyd felt his team had been punished for playing with their hearts instead of their heads.

He said: "I thought it was a terrific occasion and I'm afraid we got caught up in it in the second half and wanted to try to score three and four goals rather than being sensible. If somebody's bigger than you and better than you, you don't go toe to toe with them - and that's what we did.

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Topics:
Football
Nikola Zigic
League Cup
Chelsea
Premier League
Richard Wood
Newcastle United
Alex
Marlon King
Obafemi Martins
David Bentley
Birmingham
FA Cup
Coventry City
Kevin Phillips
Stuart Parnaby
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