Fulham manager Chris Coleman has pledged to take Birmingham on with all guns blazing in a bid to stop the rot at Craven Cottage.
Coleman’s side go into Wednesday’s Carling Cup clash at St Andrews on the back of three straight defeats – and the former Welsh international has rubbished talk of fielding a weakened squad as he looks to get back to winning ways.
Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Aston Villa left the Cottagers just two points – and one place – above the Barclays Premiership relegation zone, and Coleman admitted: “We have got to look at our situation at the minute. Everyone has got to look at themselves, myself included.
“I will be putting my strongest team out. We haven’t got the luxury to rest players – first and foremost we need to get some confidence back into everybody. When you have a team and seven or eight players have lost their confidence then that needs to be addressed. I will not be taking any short cuts in this game.
“We need to get a result and get some kind of belief back. We need to get back to basics and the first thing is getting a good performance – but it won’t be easy because Birmingham need a result as well. We have tried to go two steps forward from last year, instead of half a yard. We have got to get back to being not plain and boring but doing the right things in every game – that’s why we are in the bottom four.”
The Blues go into the game without a League win in two months, and Coleman added: “I don’t think Steve will mind me saying this but they are the same as us. They haven’t been setting any standards and I think he will put a strong side out as well.
“I was talking to (Aston Villa manager) David O’Leary on Saturday. When they got to the semi-finals last year people were asking him: ‘Do they want to avoid Arsenal?’ He said they wanted to draw Arsenal because they would play a weakened team. I don’t think Arsenal, Manchester United or Chelsea will play their strongest teams in this competition so it will give everyone else a chance and somebody has got to win it. Let’s just get through to the next round first.”