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By ESPN Staff

Injury-hit Blues recall Grainger

Birmingham have recalled experienced full-back Martin Grainger from a loan spell at Coventry and he will go straight into the squad for Saturday's Premiership game at Middlesbrough.

Grainger has been brought back to St Andrews because Olivier Tebily has a back problem which will keep him out of the clash with Steve McClaren's side.

His injury will force manager Steve Bruce into a back four reshuffle and it is likely that Martin Taylor will replace Tebily at right-back, Matthew Upson will switch into his preferred centre-back role and Grainger will slot in at left-back.

Grainger has been dogged by knee problems since Birmingham gained promotion to the top flight 18 months ago and a comeback in January 2003 to help the club through a major injury crisis backfired and led to another lengthy spell on the sidelines.

But the player has regained his match fitness with the Sky Blues and played an important role in their surge towards the Division One play-offs.

Bruce said: 'Tebily has not felt comfortable with his back problem this week and he couldn't train today. The last thing I want is for him to have to sit on a coach all the way to Middlesbrough for three to four hours in his condition.

'We have recalled Grainger from his loan spell at Coventry as a result and his period there has done him the world of good because it has enabled him to get match fitness and games under his belt.

'I'm sure the Coventry manager Eric Black will be a little disappointed because their good run has coincided with Martin's spell at the club but we need him now.

'It has been better for him to play first-team football than just reserve games. He's had a tough 18 months since we got into the Premiership.

'I have got no doubts about his ability. He came back when he wasn't right to help us at the start of last year and probably paid a heavy price for that but it shows the sort of character he is and I'm delighted to see him back playing regularly and fit.'