McLeish eager for swift Benitez return
Alex McLeish is hoping Birmingham City striker Christian Benitez will be fit "sooner rather than later" after being forced to change his starting line-up for the first time in 13 Premier League games.
The Ecuadorian has been ruled out of tonight's game at West Ham United with an ankle injury suffered in a challenge with Wolverhampton Wanderers goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann in Sunday's derby at St Andrew's. McLeish is optimistic Benitez will only have a short spell on the sidelines, providing there is no delayed reaction to the injury.
The former Scotland coach told Press Association Sport: "Christian is limping a wee bit, although the ankle injury is not serious. The doctor thinks that, with a push, he could have been knocking on the door for tonight's game but he's not going to quite make it.
"It's not serious but sometimes these things can improve pretty quickly, then you hit a hiatus with it, and it tends to drag on for a couple of weeks. Let's hope that the doctor's diagnosis is right and he is back sooner rather than later."
Benitez has played a full part in City's run of only one defeat in their last 15 league games.
McLeish insisted that there have been no complaints among the City players about Hahnemann's challenge, after Benitez went for the ball before being given offside. "Nothing has been said about it," he said.