Birmingham keep faith in McLeish, for now at least

BIRMINGHAM manager Alex McLeish has been told that he can keep his job despite taking the club down for a second time – but only if he brings them straight back up again.

The Blues were relegated on Sunday after losing their final Premier League fixture at Tottenham, plunging McLeish’s future into doubt.

But the Scot, who led them to Wembley glory in the Carling Cup final less than three months ago, has been granted a reprieve by chairman Peter Pannu.

In a statement released yesterday Pannu said: “The board regrets yesterday’s result and subsequent relegation and feels that supporters, who have continued to back us magnificently, have been let down.

“The club can confirm that manager Alex McLeish’s job is safe but that the board will expect him to lead the side back to the Premier League in the 2011/12 season.”

McLeish took charge at St Andrews in November and failed to prevent their slide into the Championship but the former Rangers boss immediately remedied the situation by achieving promotion the following season.

Pannu pointedly added that relegation had occurred “despite [Hong Kong-based owner] Carson Yeung’s promised injection of £40m in funds” and said the board were discussing steps to ensure “a speedy return to the top flight”.

Birmingham’s 2-1 defeat at White Hart Lane meant they finished 18th.