Europe helps us - Hughton

Many observers felt Blues would struggle this season juggling a 46-match npower Championship season as well as their European adventure, which can often be the case for clubs with smaller squads who are unused to the testing demands.

But Hughton said: "There have certainly been some real benefits from it (Europe), which have been that it has given us some continuity, it's allowed us to use the squad and I think that's probably the area that has benefited us."

He added: "For us it has gone well, I have been able to make some changes and it's allowed us to have some really good competition in the squad.

"At the moment it's healthy, where it becomes a little bit more difficult is the period of time you go through when there's a few injuries. At the moment we're in decent shape."

Source: PA

Source: PA