McLeish Expects Ref Justice

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has criticised aspects of Birmingham's approach in the past and hit out at midfielder Craig Gardner after last season's 1-1 draw at St Andrew's.

He has also been unhappy with some of the tackles made on his players, most notably when Eduardo's leg was broken by a challenge from Martin Taylor whom he claimed should never play again.

But McLeish has faith in Atkinson not to be influenced by Wenger's comments. The Blues boss said: "There is a fine line for referees. The British refs tend to kind of let the play flow. They allow the hard, robust challenges.

"I would hate to think that Arsene's comments would influence a referee in the English game. We have Martin Atkinson this weekend who was on duty as part of the officials team at the World Cup final and he's a top referee.

"I am sure he will give a strong performance and you have to be strong at somewhere like the Emirates. We are the small team going to play the mighty Arsenal and you hope that the referee's fair. Martin Atkinson and the British referees all come into that category."

Source: PA

Source: PA