Blues without defensive duo for Chelsea

August 8, 2007

Birmingham manager Steve Bruce is resigned to being without defenders Mat Sadler and Rafael Schmitz for the opening Premier League fixture at Chelsea on Sunday.

Bruce is already without Blues captain Damien Johnson (hamstring) but at least has cover for left-back Sadler and centre-back Schmitz after the recent acquisition of Franck Queudrue from Fulham and Liam Ridgewell from Aston Villa.

Bruce said: 'We signed Schmitz on loan (from Lille) and he hurt his Achilles in his first training session and we haven't really seen anything at all of him in pre-season which is a shame. I can't see him being available for Sunday.

'Sadler has got an Achilles problem as well and I can't see him being available.'

Striker Mikael Forssell needed stitches to a head injury suffered at Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday but is expected to be fit along with defender Stuart Parnaby, who missed the win over the Owls with a slight knock.

Bruce added: 'All in all, to be 30-odd days into pre-season, with only four or five to go, and to have had two or three niggling injuries but nothing too serious is not bad, thank God.'

Bruce would like to bring in another midfield player after abandoning plans to sign Tottenham's Hossam Ghaly and he is mindful of having sufficient strength in depth to combat injuries.

He said: 'We went down two years ago because five or six players went down injured and I didn't have enough quality in depth. You need a squad and you need to keep that squad happy.

'If I can, I would like to get another midfield player in because we are, in my opinion, still a bit short in there.'