Birmingham City news

Foster: Clean sheets key for Blues

April 8, 2011

Ben Foster believes Birmingham can guarantee Premier League survival if their proud defensive record stays intact for the remainder of the season.

City have let in 42 goals in the top flight this season - the best record of the current bottom eight - ahead of Saturday's clash at Blackburn.

They have remained hard to break down despite losing key defender Scott Dann in January for the remainder of the campaign with a hamstring problem.

England keeper Foster said: "If you look at some of the teams around us, you'd say they are pretty good at scoring goals.

"But they haven't got what we've got at the back. As easily as those teams can score, they can ship goals as well.

"I think we've been pretty good at nicking the odd goal and grinding results out.

"It's what we are about in a way and our defensive record is one of the best of the teams in the bottom half of the table.

"Yes, we know we've got to score more goals and win more games.

"But hopefully that kind of record at the other end of the pitch will see us through as well.''

Foster insists whoever holds their nerve in the final six weeks of the campaign will stay up.

He said: "Coming towards the end of the season, the games are vital for everyone, it's going to be a bit scrappy and not beautiful football to watch.

"It's about how you cope and do whatever you can to get the result. We've got some tough games - but they are games we'd like to think we can get something from.'' Birmingham boss Alex McLeish has challenged his players to maintain the form shown in last weekend's home success over Bolton.

He said: "For me, last Saturday the players set the standard and we have to keep playing with that kind of application.

"It was a big win for us, and you've got to hand it to the players because there was a lot of pressure on them last week.

"The players passed a mental test with that one and it is important to build on that win.

"We need to play the way we did against Bolton, with the same approach, baring our teeth a little bit rather than the insipid stuff I got at Wigan.

"We've got to go there and show a certain appetite and no fear.''

McLeish admits he will be relatively content if Carling Cup winners Birmingham end the season in 17th spot.

He said: "What I would like to see is we don't lose any games between now and the end of the season.

"It will probably be very difficult but we've got to have that mindset, have that attitude.

"If we stay up by one goal, I'll be quite happy. I've always said we've got to get in the top 17.''

Defender Martin Jiranek and winger David Bentley are unavailable through injury which strikers Nikola Zigic and Obafemi Martins are rated 50-50.