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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Apr 19, 2006

Bruce bracing for final-day relegation drama

Steve Bruce is braced for Birmingham's fight to stay in the Premiership to go to the final day of the season.

And the City chief believes staying in the top flight would be be as big an achievement as West Brom's `Great Escape' 12 months ago given the horrendous injury list he has had to contend with in 2005-2006.

Blues can move out of the bottom three after Portsmouth's defeat at Charlton on Easter Monday if they overcome Blackburn tonight.

It will be the first return to St Andrews of midfielder Robbie Savage since his £3million transfer to Blackburn during the January 2005 transfer window.

Bruce said: 'In a lot of people's eyes we were dead and buried after losing 7-0 at home to Liverpool in the FA Cup. It was a nadir. It was humiliation.

'But we had to turn it around otherwise we would have been dead and buried and in recent weeks performances and results, until losing at Aston Villa on Sunday, have picked up.

'We have given ourselves a chance. We were written off. With the way the season is going, I would think it may well go to the final game of the season.

'I watched what happened on the last day of last season when three or four clubs were battling to stay up and wondered how on earth people cope with that pressure.

'We have to be ready for that if it happens but I am sure there will be some more twists and turns in the next two or three weeks.

'Given everything that has gone on with injuries, if we stay up it will be as good an achievement as West Brom achieved last season. Absolutely.'

Bruce admits Savage's departure could have been handled differently by both parties but he recognises the part played by the former Welsh international in establishing Blues in the top flight after his arrival from Leicester in the summer of 2002.

He said: 'Robbie played a major role in establishing us in the Premiership. We only had a few weeks to get things sorted after going up through the play-offs and he was a big player, a heartbeat for us, in those first couple of seasons.

'Maybe we both could have handled the way it all ended better but he played a major role for this club and we will welcome him back.'

Matthew Upson was going under the knife today after rupturing his Achilles while David Dunn (calf) is also ruled out but leading scorer Jiri Jarosik has a 50-50 chance of being fit to face Rovers.