Pennant: It's payback time

April 3, 2006

Winger Jermaine Pennant has vowed to repay the faith shown in him by Steve Bruce by keeping Birmingham in the Premiership for a fifth successive season.

Bruce signed Pennant on loan from Arsenal last season, despite being aware the player could face a custodial sentence for drink-driving charges and he eventually spent a month in prison.

Pennant, 23, has also been involved in scrapes this season and was reportedly involved in a late-night incident at a Birmingham nightclub earlier this year.

But Bruce has stayed loyal to Pennant, who moved to St Andrews on a permanent basis in the summer, and on the field he has been one of City's best players in a a season-long fight to stay in the Premiership.

Pennant has already pledged to stay at Birmingham even if they are relegated and victory over visiting Bolton on Tuesday would move them out of the bottom three for the first time in six months.

Pennant said: 'The manager has shown a great deal of faith in me and that is probably much of the reason why I've done quite well this season.

'He has given me everything I wanted, a chance to play in the Premiership week-in and week-out, and, when I have had little mishaps which have been in the papers, he has stuck by me.

'He has shown both trust and faith in me and I am very grateful for that so I am desperate to get out of this situation for myself, the club and the gaffer.

'We have got seven cup finals coming up and I will do all I can to get as many points on the board as possible so that Blues will be in the Premiership next season.'