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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jan 14, 2010

Birmingham blow as Lee Carsley out until March

Birmingham midfielder Lee Carsley is set to be sidelined until the start of March with the ankle injury suffered during the FA Cup tie with Nottingham Forest at the City Ground.

City boss Alex McLeish initially declined to put a time limit on how long the 34-year-old would be out of action. But, on the day McLeish unveiled new midfielder Michel, the former Scotland boss conceded Carsley will out of action for another six weeks.

It is a blow for Blues as Carsley has been experienced back-up for the first-choice partnership of Lee Bowyer and Barry Ferguson. And it puts more onus on Michel to adapt quickly to life in the Premier League should either of that duo also be ruled out.

McLeish said: "You are probably looking at Lee being out for six weeks. He has not had an operation, he is just getting daily treatment. His ankle is in a boot, is stabilised and that is going to help him more. But he doesn't need any surgery.''

McLeish is hoping Michel will be firing on all cylinders for next season but wants him to be ready to step into the current side as quickly as possible.

He said: "Is he more for next season? If he adapts faster than that, then that's a bonus. But, if anything should happen to my midfielders, then I want him to be be right to come in and he has got to adjust quickly.

"He can't be of a mindset that he is just breaking himself in for next season. He has got to be here saying 'I want to challenge Ferguson and Bowyer.'''

The Scot is optimistic Michel can adapt quicker to the physical side of the game than Mikel Arteta did when McLeish signed the current Everton midfielder for Rangers.

He said: "Michel is not the same type of player but he can certainly take a leaf out of Arteta's book. With Arteta, the physical side in Scotland, in his last season there, was a wee bit too much for him. We asked him to be the leader in our midfielder. At the time he was 22-23 and it was a tough ask because we lost quality players like Barry Ferguson.

"He came to England after going back to Real Sociedad from Rangers and I saw him putting the tackles in, getting in for headers when maybe in that last year at Rangers, he ducked them a little once or twice. He had a total different mentality and he has been a great success in England, a fantastic player, and hopefully Michel will emulate him.

"Michel is already a bit more physical than Mikel who was more of a creative player, and he knows the physical side of it is a must if he is going to be a success in England.''

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