Michel could start for Blues

Blues midfielder set for starting bow

Michel: May start for Blues

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Birmingham manager Alex McLeish could give midfielder Michel his full debut against Portsmouth on Tuesday.

The Blues travel to Fratton Park in the Premier League just days after they lost 2-0 on the South Coast, to crash out of the FA Cup quarter-finals.

McLeish has rarely changed his starting line-up in recent weeks due to Birmingham's impressive form, although with legs starting to tire, he could be persuaded to make alterations in midweek.

Michel has made five substitute appearances for the Blues since his January move from Sporting Gijon, but may break his starting duck against Pompey.

McLeish said: "We have to have a look and see what he can do. He has a lack of match practice along with one or two others.

"There's no doubt he can handle the ball and it's time to look at a couple of the players.

"I don't need to mention what I've seen in training because we brought him here because we knew what he could do.

"But the form of Barry Ferguson and Lee Bowyer was excellent and the momentum from these two guys meant we wanted to get to a certain position before we started to look at other players.

"We've achieved that but we don't want to stop picking up points and there's a responsibility on Michel and other players to come in and keep the rhythm and good performances going."

Fatigue

Birmingham are currently ninth in the Premier League with 40 points from 27 games, and after a season full of toil and effort, may now be beginning to tire.

"We don't have injuries, maybe a bit of tiredness, and it is understandable after such a long spell with the players playing week in, week out, training hard every day, playing all these games," McLeish added.

"Players can also get mentally tired and maybe it is now appropriate for me to utilise the squad. There have been a lot of guys kicking their heels.

"A lot of guys, quite rightly, haven't knocked on my door because they know how well the team has done and I've told them they just have to be patient.

"There is an opportunity to perhaps play one or two of the players who have been sitting on the bench."