McLeish forced into team change at last

Birmingham manager Alex McLeish will be forced to change his starting line-up for the first time in 13 Premier League games for the away clash with West Ham tomorrow.

Striker Christian Benitez is ruled out with the ankle injury suffered in a challenge from Wolves goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann in the weekend derby at St Andrew’s.

McLeish has to decide whether to give a rare start to veteran Kevin Phillips, after the 36-year-old came off the substitutes’ bench to net twice against Mick McCarthy’s side, or to push James McFadden into attack and draft Keith Fahey into the wide left role.

Defender Stuart Parnaby is back in the squad after recovering from a back problem.

Team (from): Hart, Carr, Johnson, Dann, Ridgewell, Larsson, Ferguson, Bowyer, McFadden, Jerome, Fahey, Taylor, Phillips, Michel, Jervis, Vignal, Gardner, Parnaby.

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