Bruce backs Morrison to light the Blues touch paper

Last updated : 17 January 2003 By Rags

The Blues chief is tipping Christophe Dugarry to create the kind of openings the former Crystal Palace player has been starved of since his £4.5million move to St Andrews.

And Bruce strongly refuted radio reports that Morrison was unhappy with life in the Midlands and was looking to make a quickfire return to the capital.

Morrison is available after a one-match suspension, subject to overcoming a slight stomach strain, for tomorrow's trip to Blackburn.

The striker has only four goals to his name this campaign and looked a shadow of himself in his last appearance against Fulham in the FA Cup when substituted along with strike partner Jovan Kirovski at half-time.

But Bruce's faith in Morrison has not been shaken and he is confident French World Cup winner Dugarry can provide the sort of opportunities that have been limited since the Republic of Ireland international made the step up from Division One to the Barclaycard Premiership.

Bruce said: "I heard Alan Brazil report on the radio this morning that Clinton is desperately unhappy and desperate to get back to London.

"Well all I can say is that it's news to me. I had him (Morrison) in my office for 10 minutes and he was fine.

"Clinton was disappointing at Fulham but there were seven or eight players I could have taken off there in what was our worst performance for many months.

"He will be fine, he's a good player and I know he will come right. What Clinton is having to adjust to is that at Premiership level you get much fewer opportunities, and lack of chances is the one thing that really gets to a striker.

"There is a gulf between the First Division and the Premiership. You couldn't actually say Clinton has missed chances.

"In the First Division he might have got two or three a month. Now he's probably had two or three in three months.

"We hope Christophe can help in that department. He can see a pass when it is one and he's got the credentials to make goals.

"Creativity is the hardest thing in any walk of life, especially in football, and Christophe is more of a creator than a finisher.

"But I've every faith in Clinton's ability, that he will score goals given the chances and when it comes to the big run-in, the big push, I'm sure he will be fine."

Bruce has been hit by injuries and suspensions in recent weeks which has led to his burst of activity in the transfer market.

But he is still seeking a better performance from his side than in recent weeks after a hat-trick of league defeats and the Cup exit at Loftus Road.

Bruce said: "We must get back to our best and be the Birmingham that has got us where we are. We need a performance of the style that got us to this point.

"In the last couple of weeks we haven't really hit the heights. We can cite injuries and suspensions and make all the excuses we have to be the Birmingham City of old, which is up and at the opposition and in their faces."

In addition to Morrison, key midfielder Aliou Cisse will return after suspension and a 10-day spell away from the club - his first real break since joining Blues immediately after his heroics for Senegal in the World Cup finals.