McLeish happy with new signings

Manager Alex McLeish was pleased with the contributions of Nikola Zigic and Ben Foster as the two summer signings made their Birmingham debuts in a 3-2 friendly win over a Hong Kong XI.

Goalkeeper Foster played the opening 45 minutes, during which he conceded two goals, while Zigic was introduced in the second-half and set up fellow striker Garry O’Connor for the winner two minutes from the end at Hong Kong Stadium.

Foster could do little about either of the home side’s strikes and McLeish was satisfied with both players’ displays in what turned out to be a narrow victory.

“I thought they did well,” he said. “Zigic came on and showed that he can be a very powerful player for us next season with some nice touches and, of course, he’s a massive presence in the penalty box.

“Ben Foster lost two goals, he won’t be happy about that, but I don’t think the defenders in front of him did very well for the goals.

“These are the rough edges that we have to iron out before the start of the season and I’m sure we’ll do it because I’ve got a very determined bunch of players. I’m not concerned at this stage at all.”

McLeish also underlined his intention to ease Zigic into Birmingham’s pre-season schedule – they now move on to Beijing to face Beijing Guoan on Wednesday before finishing against Liaoning Hongyun in Shenyang – in light of the forward’s World Cup exploits with Serbia.

“It was good to bring him in later in the game when there was a lot of changes from the Hong Kong team. He’s not at the same level as the players that started the game,” McLeish added.

“He’s a big, big man but he has a good touch and sometimes, even with not a very good ball he can turn it to something and he can keep the game alive for us as long as we have players that can work around him.

“He did well for Garry O’Connor’s goal and he helped change things for us. I think he’ll do well in the Premier League.”

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