Redknapp makes incredible Birmingham claim, delivers verdict on Bruce at Aston Villa
By Danny Wright
Newly-appointed Birmingham manager Harry Redknapp believes that Steve Bruce will do a good job at Aston Villa, but says Birmingham should be challenging for the Premier League.
It’s an incredible claim, even by Redknapp’s outspoken standard, with his team in real danger of being relegated from the second tier of British football.
The two experienced managers come to blows this weekend in what is bound to be a gripping second-city derby which could see further relegation worries piled on Birmingham.
Redknapp was announced at Gianfranco Zola’s replacement on Tuesday less than 24 hours after the Italian boss tendered his resignation.
He is under no illusion as to how big of a task his first game in the St. Andrews hot seat will be but thinks that Blues are currently performing well underneath their station.
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“[It will be a] tough game, but the players will be up for it,” he said. “Brucey will do a great job at Villa in the long term, but Birmingham should be challenging for the Premier League,” said Redknapp, as quoted by Sky Sports.
“The owners are ambitious. If we survive, the future is good.”
With three games of the Championship season left to go, Birmingham are just three points clear of the relegation zone.
Zola won just two of his 24 games in charge of the West Midlands club after taking over from Gary Rowett, who was controversially sacked in December while his side were seventh in the standings.
Blues have not been in the third tier of English football since 1995.
Villa’s 2010 League Cup defeat to Birmingham is the only time they’ve been on the losing side of the second-city derby since 2005.
Bruce and his men are looking to secure a top half finish in the Championship and will hope to launch a new assault on promotion next season.
In other Aston Villa news, this senior player has been ruled out for the rest of the season.