Chris Hughton was delighted to see Nikola Zigic return to action despite Birmingham bowing out of the Carling Cup 2-0 to Premier League hight-flyers Manchester City.
Blues relinquished their hold on the trophy they won at Wembley in February as Owen Hargreaves and Mario Balotelli fired first-half goals at the Etihad Stadium.
"It was good to get Nikola back on the field for 20 minutes because he has missed an awful lot of football," said Hughton.
The Blues boss made seven changes from the weekend compared to Roberto Mancini's 11, and added: "We are a bit different to Manchester City. We have to manage our squad the best way we can."
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