Hugh will do
Ex-Newcastle boss can lead Blues forward, says O'Connor
Last Updated: June 23, 2011 11:59am
Hughton: good coaching skills
Former Birmingham midfielder Martin O'Connor believes Chris Hughton can lead the Blues back to the Premier League at the first attempt.
"He's a tracksuit manager, he likes to get on the training field and I've heard he's a very good coach and has got good management skills."
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Hughton, 52, was confirmed as the club's new manager on Wednesday replacing Alex McLeish, who quit the St Andrew's hotseat to take charge of city rivals Aston Villa.
The erstwhile Newcastle boss' remit will be to earn promotion to the top flight, following Blues' relegation at the end of the previous campaign.
And ex-City star O'Connor reckons Hughton can take Birmingham up, just as he did during his tenure at St James' Park.
"I think it's a good appointment," he told Sky Sports News HD.
"The club's in transition now, they got relegated last year and they need somebody to take the helm and hopefully lead the club forward at the first attempt.
"He's a tracksuit manager, he likes to get on the training field and I've heard he's a very good coach and has got good management skills.
"The players at Newcastle speak very highly of him and he had a good track record there. He won promotion by a few points and he got them playing good football.
"He's got good all-round ability and that's what the club needs after Alex [McLeish] leaving."
With Birmingham plying their trade in the Championship next term, there has been speculation over the future of some the side's key names, including centre-backs Roger Johnson and Scott Dann and goalkeeper Ben Foster.
However, O'Connor believes it is vital that Hughton keeps the squad together if the Blues have genuine aspirations of making a swift return to the elite division.
"Chris needs support from the club, the board and the chairman. If he gets that and he can keep hold of the players contracted to the club and hopefully add to that squad, he's got a fantastic chance," said O'Connor.
"You've only got to look at the likes of Scott Dann and Roger Johnson at the heart of the team and the 'keeper [Ben Foster] - that's the spine.
"We've just bought [Marlon] King in and it all looks well but obviously you've got to keep hold of the players first and foremost.
"That's probably Chris' first job - speaking to the players concerned and getting their seal of approval to stay at the club and then we kick on. We need good players to get promotion."
And O'Connor's view on Blues' outgoing manager McLeish?
"He's got his reasons for leaving the club and he's got a new position now. We move on."