BIRMINGHAM TARGET PREMIER LEAGUE SURVIVAL

Birmingham are aiming to remain in the Premier League this season according to manager Alex McLeish. McLeish’s side were heavily tipped to be relegated last season, but surprised many by finishing in ninth place on their return to the Premier League, thanks to a miserly defence and a stellar season from on-loan goalkeeper Joe Hart.

Birmingham have seen Hart return to his parent club, Manchester City, but McLeish was able to acquire Manchester United goalkeeper Ben Foster and Valencia striker Nikola Zigic for £6 million each.

While some expect Birmingham to improve their shock ninth place finish, McLeish insists that he has one simple goal for the upcoming campaign.

"Finish in the Premier League again,” McLeish told The Sun.

"I don't look at last season — we've got to now start totally afresh. These two guys have given us a bit of freshness but I'm looking for more signings, we can't rest on our laurels.

"If any player is down on their level from last year, the Premier League is unforgiving.

"Tony Pulis, the Stoke manager, said this is his club's third year in the Premier League and he only wants to stay up.

"That's the target he's set for his players because if you do three years in a row, you're recognised as a Premier League team.

"We've only done it one year. People are expecting us to finish higher than ninth, which I think is ridiculous. There's a top seven that are pretty much untouchable and between the next 13 teams, it's a big battle."

McLeish intends to add some more players to his squad before they kick off their Premier League season at Sunderland on August 14.

"I might need to bolster the left-back position or one of the centre-back positions because if one of them go down, the numbers are quite short, but certainly in forward areas.

"We will try to bring in more players, the board have told me I would have the money for more players."