Birmingham v Bolton preview
Alex McLeish's preparations for the FA Cup tie against Bolton have been hit by injuries at Birmingham.
By Soriebah Kajue
Last Updated: 11/03/11 5:13pm
Alex McLeish's preparations for the FA Cup tie against Bolton have been hit by an injury crisis at Birmingham.
The Carling Cup winners face the Lancashire side in Saturday's early kick-off and could be without a host of first-team players for the game.
McLeish has described it as the worst injury situation he has experienced during his four years at the helm at St Andrews.
Lee Bowyer, David Bentley, Keith Fahey, Liam Ridgewell, Craig Gardner and Nikola Zigic are all rated doubtful.
Captain Stephen Carr, Alexander Hleb, plus long-term casualties Scott Dann and James McFadden, are definitely ruled out.
McLeish will take a late decision on whether to include Barry Ferguson who has had an injection to ease the pain from his broken rib.
Birmingham's cup success seems to have come at a price as they are just one place above the drop zone, but McLeish insists this will not stop him from giving his all in the quarter-final.
"The league is more important to us, there is no doubt about it," he said. "But I owe it to the Birmingham fans to play the strongest team available.
"It might not be strong enough to win. I could play my best team against Bolton, and we could still lose because they are a good side.
"We could lose but we don't plan to. We are going to try to win this game."
For his part, Owen Coyle has no such worries and is targeting success in this competition as a tribute to the late Nat Lofthouse, who died aged 85 in January.
His finest moment in a Bolton shirt came in the 1958 final when he bagged a brace in the 2-0 win over Manchester United, something Bolton have not been able to replicate since.
Coyle said: "Everybody knows how sad everybody was with Nat's passing. But I think it's important we remembered all the good things that he brought not only to the football club but also the community.
"It would be lovely to achieve that, but we know there are some difficult obstacles in the way."
Jussi Jaaskelainen will make his 500th appearance for Bolton if he is picked for this game.
Coyle has no fresh injury worries, although Chelsea loanee Daniel Sturridge is cup-tied, which could open the way for Ivan Klasnic, who has scored the winner in the last two rounds.
Ricardo Gardner joined Preston on loan this week after recovering from a knee injury while Jlloyd Samuel (thigh), Zat Knight, Sean Davis, Joey O'Brien (all knee) and Sam Ricketts (Achilles) remain on the sidelines.