Avoiding relegation the priority of McLeish at Birmingham this season

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Alex McLeish believes that he faces a major challenge to simply repeat Birmingham’s Premier League finish from last season, let alone better it.

McLeish built a team that was difficult to beat at home and solid in defence to finish in ninth spot during the last campaign, despite it being their first season since a one-year stint in the Championship.

Many fans will want the club to push on and potentially challenge for a spot in the top six this season, but the Scottish boss has labelled this dream as “nigh on impossible”.

He added: “It is ludicrous to suggest that. We can all dream and have ambition but there are about eight teams in there who, over a length of the season, will always come to the fore. Then the rest are fighting for the other places.

“If we come ninth again, it will be phenomenal. I would judge that even better than last season. Finishing in the top 17 is our priority again.”

Premier League odds suggest that Birmingham are not among the favourites to go down as they are 9/1 to be relegated to the Championship this season.

Birmingham have taken six points from their opening five Premier League games and are at home next to another of the division’s potential relegation candidates, Wigan.

McLeish’s team are 8/11 to beat Wigan and will fancy their chances of taking the three points again after doing the double over them during the last campaign.

James McFadden scored the only goal in the victory at St Andrews and it is 6/1 that Birmingham triumph 1-0 again. See the whole Birmingham vs Wigan match betting market.

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