BIRMINGHAM captain Liam Ridgewell believes David Gold and David Sullivan’s takeover of West Ham will add a little extra spice to tonight’s clash at Upton Park.
Sullivan and Gold spent 17 years in charge at St Andrews before selling to new owner Carson Yeung and buying a 50 per cent share in the Hammers last month.
Gold stirred up tensions ahead of tonight’s game by urging his players to “whack” his former club, but although Ridgewell laughed off the jibe, he warned that the presence of his ex-employers will add a new dimension to the fixture.
“They’re starting a new era under new owners who will be right up for it,” said Ridgewell, who began his career as a youngster at Upton Park. “We have to make sure we just play our own game and match their endeavour.
“They’ve just brought a couple of centre forwards in with quality and they’ll be hoping that can give them the push to start climbing up the table.”
The Blues have suffered just one defeat in their last 18 league and cup matches – a run which has taken Alex
McLeish’s side to a healthy eighth place in the table, 16 points clear of the third-bottom Hammers.
But still, Ridgewell insists City are haunted by the dreaded threat of relegation. “Our only priority was to secure our Premier League status and nothing has changed,” he added. “Only when we’ve done that can we think about how high we can finish. Anything from there is a bonus.
“Confidence and spirit in the camp is fantastic and our run of form has come from playing the same team regularly. We are keeping clean sheets and in Joe Hart behind us we have one of the best keepers in the league.”