Safety first for McLeish

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Football News

Birmingham City manager Alex McLeish admits retaining the club's Barclays Premier League status represents the full extent of his ambitions as he plots the club's survival for a second consecutive term.

Tipped as potential relegation candidates, Birmingham finished a surprising ninth on their return to the top flight. McLeish, though, felt his men may have overachieved, underlining survival is the only thing on his mind and that further signings are critical if they are to avoid being dragged into a relegation battle.

When asked about his goals for the coming season, he replied: "Finish in the Premier League again. I don't look at last season, we've got to now start totally afresh. We can't rest on our laurels."

McLeish added: "If any player is down on their level from last year, the Premier League is unforgiving.

"Tony Pulis, the Stoke manager, said this is his club's third year in the Premier League and he only wants to stay in the league.

"That's the target he's set for his players because if you do three years in a row, you're recognised as a Premier League team.

"We've only done it one year. People are expecting us to finish higher than ninth, which I think is ridiculous. There's a top seven that are pretty much untouchable and between the next 13 teams, it's a big battle.

Having again been linked with Liverpool winger Ryan Babel among others, McLeish also dismissed any concerns he did not have the funds available to improve his squad having already brought in goalkeeper Ben Foster from Manchester United and striker Nikola Zigic from Valencia.

"The money's been good," he stressed.

"(Owner) Carson Yeung's backed us very well. We will try to bring in more players, the board have told me I would have the money for more players."

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

Stoke City
Ryan Babel
Ben Foster
Premier League
Manchester United

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