Fulham boss Chris Coleman has described Steve Bruce as a “fighter” and backed the under-fire Birmingham manager to steer the Blues to safety.
The St Andrew’s side sit second from bottom in the Barclays Premiership table and have yet to register a home triumph in the league this season.
But Coleman believes Bruce has the qualities needed to lift Birmingham away from danger and highlighted the progress they have made during his four-year reign.
“Birmingham are a good team who are having a bad time. They didn’t have much luck against West Ham on Monday,” he said ahead of the showdown at St Andrews.
“When you’re struggling that’s what happens. When you’re out of it it’s hard work. I’ve been in that bottom three and it’s a horrible position to be in.
“Brucie is my mate and I sincerely hope they get out of trouble – as long as it’s after tomorrow (Saturday). I’ve always had a very good relationship with Brucie.
“He’s been very good to me and spends a bit of time with me after matches. He’s a good guy. He’s a fighter, just like he was as a player.
“He was never one to back away from a challenge when he played and he won’t do that now. Let’s not forget where Birmingham were when he turned up.
“It’s a different club now four years down the line and I’m sure the chairman realises that. But some other people seem to have a short memory.
“This is the first time since he’s been in charge that Birmingham have had a bad run. They’ll come through because of his experience.”
Birmingham co-owner David Sullivan voiced his full support for Bruce on Wednesday but Coleman – no stranger to pressure himself – dislikes the dreaded ‘vote of confidence’.
“What is a vote of confidence? A chairman making a comment? You can’t win,” he said.
“If a chairman comes out and says he’s happy with the manager, the manager has had a vote of confidence. If he doesn’t say anything it looks bad.”
With Fulham failing to win on the road and Birmingham unable to triumph on home soil, one of the clubs could be celebrating the end of their barren spell tomorrow afternoon.
But Coleman insists that if it is Fulham who take all three points he will be treading carefully during the post match drink he will share with Bruce.
“Steve will either be putting his arm around me or vice versa. The feeling when you’ve won is indescribable, it’s such a high,” he said.
“But then you get so down when you lose. You have to be careful when you go to see the manager afterwards. I know what they’re going through if they’ve lost.
“Unless it’s a draw, one of us is going to be disappointed. You can’t go in there giving it high fives.”