McLeish hoping for swift striker return

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Football News

Alex McLeish is hoping Birmingham striker Christian Benitez will be fit "sooner rather than later" after being forced to change his starting line-up for the first time in 13 Barclays Premier League games.

Benitez has been ruled out of Wednesday night's clash at West Ham with an ankle injury suffered in a challenge with Wolves keeper Marcus Hahnemann in Sunday's derby at St Andrew's.

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The former Scotland boss told Press Association Sport: "Christian is limping a wee bit - although the ankle injury is not serious. The doctor thinks that, with a push, he could have been knocking on the door for Wednesday night's game but he's not going to quite make it."

He added: "It's not serious but sometimes these things can improve pretty quickly, then you hit a hiatus with it, and it tends to drag on for a couple of weeks.

"Let's hope that the doctor's diagnosis is right and he is back sooner rather than later."

Benitez has played a full part in City's run of only one defeat in their last 15 league games.

McLeish insists there have been no complaints amongst the City players about Hahnemann's challenge after Benitez challenged for the ball before being given offside.

He said: "Nothing has been said about it."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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