Football: Birmingham boss Lee Clark could welcome back Nikola Zigic for tomorrow’s home clash against Sheffield Wednesday after the Serbian striker stepped up his efforts in training in response to being dropped at the weekend.
Clark grabbed the headlines on Thursday having angrily hit out at Zigic’s work-rate and attitude during sessions last week, insisting the player had put in “possibly the worst training session in terms of a professional footballer I have ever come across.”
The Blues boss admitted he did not regret leaving Zigic out of Birmingham’s matchday squad on Saturday despite the convincing 4-0 defeat at home to promotion-chasing Watford.
Clark always stressed there was no bust-up and that the 6ft 8in target man would be back in his plans tomorrow evening should he show the desired improvement.
Speaking at the club’s Wast Hills training ground yesterday morning, Clark, who did not take training on Sunday as he analysed video footage of the Owls, said: “I’ll be having a chat with Nikola. He trained very well on Sunday by all accounts from the staff and what I have seen on his GPS stats.
“He has really worked harder than any player. I will have a conversation with him and we’ll see where we go.”
Elsewhere tomorrow night Hull midfielder David Meyler hopes the Tigers can seal a hat-trick of wins when they face Blackburn at the KC Stadium.
Back-to-back victories over Charlton and Derby at home have kept Hull firmly in the hunt for an automatic promotion place, and a win over Blackburn would keep them ahead of the chasing pack.
Meyler said: “The way this league is, you need to make sure you’re right up for it. We were up for it against Derby and again against Charlton, so we need to make sure this little run keeps going.”
In the other games, promotion-hunting Crystal Palace will look to back up their 4-1 win over Middlesbrough at home to Bristol City, while Boro travel to Burnley and Barnsley take on Wolves in a relegation scrap.
League leaders Cardiff host seventh-placed Brighton. Derby take on Bolton, Ipswich face Watford, Millwall return from FA Cup success over Luton to play Peterborough and Nottingham Forest are at home to Huddersfield, who were knocked out of the cup by Wigan yesterday.
On Wednesday Leeds will look to bounce back from their FA Cup fifth round 4-0 defeat by league champions Manchester City at home to Blackpool, who today confirmed Paul Ince as their new manager on a rolling one-year contract.