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By ESPN Staff

Heskey backs new Blues strike partner Sutton

Emile Heskey has backed Chris Sutton to be a success at Birmingham as the pair prepare to team up for the first time in Saturday's Premiership clash at Charlton.

Sutton will provide much needed support for Heskey who has been the only Blues striker to produce his best form in the first half of the season.

Walter Pandiani has managed only two league goals while Mikael Forssell has struggled to regain full sharpness after his lengthy lay-off following knee surgery.

Heskey said: 'Chris is a quality player and I do know a lot about him. At this level, you need experienced strikers who know how to score goals, who know what work is required, and who have intelligence.

'Chris seems to have everything. You don't get to play for England and Celtic unless you have all these attributes. We have done well to get him here and he will be a success.

'Birmingham need class strikers. Every club at this level needs strength in depth in all areas and so bringing Chris here shows that we mean business.

'But then Birmingham always seem to do well in the January transfer window.

'This is a signing who will please the supporters and again emphasise that Birmingham are always in the market for good players.'

Heskey is one of the first names on Birmingham manager Steve Bruce's team sheet but he will welcome the extra competition provided by 32-year-old Sutton.

He said: 'It helps with competition for places when a new striker comes in. It keeps us all on our toes. We know we cannot have bad games because, if we do, we will be out of the team.'

Sutton can also play in central defence but Bruce has stressed he will be playing the former Blackburn player as an out and out front-runner.

He said: 'His versatility is enormous but I want to play him as a striker. I want to play him as a threat. Umpteen times this season we have seen balls fizzed across the box and had no-one on the end of them.'