Birmingham Vs Bolton Wanderers, Sat 2 Apr 2011

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Defender Roger Johnson believes Birmingham need four wins to guarantee Barclays Premier League survival and refuses to blame their Carling Cup triumph for a slide into the bottom three.

Johnson is calling on the players to "show why they are at this club" and lift Blues out of trouble, starting with Saturday's home encounter with Bolton.

Alex McLeish's side have taken only one point from three games since their shock Wembley triumph over Arsenal and have been beaten by fellow strugglers West Brom and Wigan.

In addition they lost 3-2 to Bolton in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup at St Andrew's.

But Johnson insists: "The League Cup final took it out of us for a week maybe and you might expect a reaction the following game.

"But certainly not four games after that would you expect it. It's not good enough

"We are a good bunch and it does hurt us to see where we are in the league, certainly after last season (finishing ninth) and now winning the Carling Cup.

"We have talked amongst ourselves about it. We all know we are down there and we need to step things up.

"People have got to start stepping up to the plate and showing why they are at this club."

Johnson and some of his team-mates are quick to vent their feelings if someone is under-performing.

He said: "There are a few of us like that - Stephen Carr as the captain, Lee Bowyer, Barry Ferguson, myself. If something is not right, it needs to be said.

"That's the way it is. If someone is not doing their job, they need to be told.


"We have a lot of experience here, and a lot of international players, and hopefully we can do enough to get safe."

Johnson believes it will take more than 40 points to ensure safety and stresses the importance of City's remaining four home games.

He said: "I think we are going to need four wins and maybe a draw but we are playing the sides that maybe we can get those points against.

"We will be playing a lot of sides who are in the bottom half with us so we will be looking to get four wins to take us over the line.

"The normal 40-point safety line definitely doesn't apply this year. The home games are the ones you've got to be looking to get the results in.

"Four home games out of nine is good to us but we can pick up away results as well.

"But we will certainly be looking to get maximum points from the home games."

Birmingham's leading scorer Nikola Zigic and midfielder Lee Bowyer are poised to return from injury.

Eight-goal Zigic made his comeback from a groin injury by playing for Serbia in midweek, while Bowyer has resumed full training after recovering from a hamstring problem.

But central defender Martin Jiranek is doubtful after undergoing a minor toe operation.

Bolton boss Owen Coyle is short of central midfielders for the clash.

Stuart Holden has been ruled out for six months after damaging knee ligaments in the defeat by Manchester United last time out, while Mark Davies is a major doubt as he continues to battle an ankle injury.

That means Tamir Cohen could make his first Premier League start of the season, with England Under-21 international Fabrice Muamba also in contention.

Bolton may be flying high in seventh place in the Premier League but that does not mean they can take top-flight survival for granted, according to Coyle.

Wanderers are enjoying their best season since finishing sixth in 2004/05 and also have an FA Cup semi-final against Stoke to look forward to in two weeks' time.

Before their trip to Wembley, Bolton must keep their focus on the league, starting with Saturday's clash at Birmingham.

The high of Carling Cup glory has quickly given way to the stress of a relegation battle for Alex McLeish's side, and Coyle is taking no chances despite his side being eight points above the bottom three.

The Scot said: "It could be more than 10 teams involved. We're obviously sitting in seventh but everybody knows if they're on any sort of bad run you can be drawn into that.

"We have to focus on what we're doing, trying to get enough points to keep us moving up the table.

"I don't believe 40 points will be enough this year, I think you'll need more than that.

"Even the team in 20th can beat the team in first position and the quality of the league is such that you certainly don't sit back and rest on your laurels because you get a slap in the face in football for that."

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