Hleb faces final fitness race
Birmingham City midfielder Alexander Hleb faces a race against time to prove his fitness for next weekend's Carling Cup final against Arsenal.
Hleb suffered a knee injury in today's 3-0 home win over Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup fifth round and the Belarus international left St Andrew's on crutches.
The former Arsenal player, on loan at Birmingham from Barcelona, will have a scan in the next 24 hours that will determine whether he can recover in time to face the Gunners at Wembley next Sunday.
Blues manager Alex McLeish said: "The latest is Alex is limping heavily. He will have a scan hopefully over the next 24 hours. We presume we can get something done tomorrow and we will know after that if there is any damage.
"It is his knee. We don't believe there is any cruciate problems but he got a fair rattle. The guy was very late in the tackle. He is a great player and we still believe he will make an impact for us at some stage this season and, hopefully, he will be OK for the final."
McLeish admitted he also substituted central defender Roger Johnson over fears he would be sent off, which would have led to a suspension from the final, after he had collected a yellow card.
"I thought, 'One mis-timed tackle from Roger and he is looking at red with disastrous consequences'," McLeish said. "It was a good opportunity to take Roger off. If the scoreline had been tighter, we would have gone along with him. I felt it was the right thing to do."