Nothing to prove for Bruce

ALEX Bruce has nothing to prove against his old club Birmingham tonight, according to his manager Jim Magilton.

Derek Davis

By Derek Davis

ALEX Bruce has nothing to prove against his old club Birmingham tonight, according to his manager Jim Magilton.

Meanwhile, former Town striker Marcus Bent is in fine fettle to take on his old employers at St Andrews, according to his new boss Alex McLeish.

Bruce was panned by his critics after being handed his debut by his dad Steve Bruce and when he was used in midfield in place of an injured Nicky Butt.

But he has been warned not to try and do anything out of the ordinary in order to try and prove a point in the Midlands by Magilton who wants him to play his normal game.

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Although Gareth McAuley travelled with the squad he remains a doubt with a hamstring injury and Bruce is likely to keep his place at centre-half.

Bruce was been named in the Championship team of the week after his performance against Derby County climaxing a week when he won his second full Republic of Ireland cap.

Magilton said: “Alex Bruce has nothing to prove to me. I just want him focused on what he is doing for this team. Alex is experienced enough now not to think of anything other than what he is doing in this game for us.”

As if having Kevin Phillips hitting goal scoring form wasn't enough, former Ipswich Town star Marcus Bent is also starting to bang them in and will only get better according top his team-mates.

Bent opened the scoring for City as they came back to beat Swansea 3-2 on Friday with Phillips bagging the other two.

Birmingham skipper Lee Carsley warns that Bent, who has started the last three matches - his longest run in the team - is high in confidence.

Carsley said: “He's a great team player, Benty, he does a lot of work. He goes up for a lot of headers and tries to bring people into play.

“A lot of that goes unnoticed, but I've played with him for a few years now and you know exactly what you're going to get off him.

“He's a confidence player as well, so that goal's going to do him a lot of good.”

Fellow goalscorer Phillips hailed Bent, who set up one of his two goals, and added: “I'm delighted for Benty, it's a big burden off his shoulders.

"You put good delivery in the box - like for his goal and mine, you're going to get goals.”

The much-travelled bent signed for Birmingham for £1m from Charlton after impressing in the Premier League while on loan with Wigan last season and manager Alex McLeish is delighted to see his investment paying off.

McLeish said: “I was pleased with Marcus, getting his first goal.

“He lost his marker to head us level at a time when Swansea were playing well.

“And he led the line well. He put himself about, messed the defenders about and that's what we expect of Benty - and I expect more as well. He's getting better with every game, but there's more to come from him.”

Nigel Quashie has extended his loan spell from West Ham and is expected to return to the midfield after missing the win at Swansea through suspension.

Birmingham City squad: Taylor, Doyle, Hunt, Murphy, Quedrue, Ridgewell, Jaidi, Carsley, Quashie, Nafti, Agustein, Quincy, Larsson, Jerome, McFadden, Bent, Phillips.

Ipswich Town squad: R Wright, Supple, D Wright, Thatcher, Volz, Bruce, Naylor, McAuley, Balkestein, Shumulikoski, Miller, Garvan, Ambrose, Quinn, Walters, Lisbie, Stead, Counago.