Birmingham midfielder Barry Ferguson could return to action in Saturday's home FA Cup quarter-final with Bolton - less then two weeks after suffering a broken rib.

Blues boss Alex McLeish admits he is facing up to the worst injury crisis in his four seasons at St. Andrew's with eight players doubtful to face the Trotters. But Ferguson could provide a bit of positive news having undergone an injection to ease the pain after sustaining the setback during the shock Carling Cup final win over Arsenal.

McLeish said: "Barry is good, he trained on Thursday. He looked very mobile and got involved in a couple of challenges."

The former Scotland boss added: "When you talk about people clashing, I was cringeing a wee bit watching him because I was thinking he would flinch everytime he went into a challenge.

"But he took the injection, so he has got a bit of the freeze in his side just now, which is saving him from the pain.

"As regards Saturday, he will decide last minute. If the doctor says he needs another week, we will be guided by the medical department here."

Lee Bowyer, David Bentley, Keith Fahey, Craig Gardner, Stephen Carr, Liam Ridgewell and Nikola Zigic are all rated doubtful, with Alexander Hleb definitely ruled out.

"It is the worst injury situation in my time at the club," said McLeish.

"Listen, it is something you can't control, injuries as a manager. In terms of suspensions, you can work on discipline, you can try and make sure you cut out too many yellow and red cards.

"But the injuries are things that are difficult to legislate for."

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