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Birmingham boss desperate to lift his first silverware south of the border

Alex McLeish wants to win the Carling Cup with Birmingham and continue his haul of trophies which started in Scotland. McLeish has won 19 trophies as a player and manager in Scotland but is eager to lift his first silverware over the border in England when he takes on Arsenal at Wembley on Sunday.

He said: "I'm as ambitious as the next man and you keep doing your best.

"If it means a player is doing really well, and someone is interested in him, then I'm happy for that to happen.

"It's the same for me as a manager, the same for my staff. If one of my staff excels, the sports science guy or someone, then another big club might take him.

"I don't stand in the way of people's progress. I'd like to progress but I'd like to do that with Birmingham.

"I'd like us to find a niche in this league for the next few years but also win our first trophy for a long time.

"Arsenal haven't won a trophy for six years but we haven't had won one for 48 years."

McLeish has spoken with his mentor Sir Alex Ferguson - his manager at Aberdeen - during the build-up to the final.

He said: "Managers learn as they go along as well. You learn with every game. Sir Alex Ferguson was a young manager at Aberdeen and he knew he was in charge of his own destiny.

"I think he would learn through older players, in other words I'm saying he learnt it all from us. We taught him all he knows!

"In all seriousness, he's a mentor. I don't ring him up every week for tactics asking 'what should I do here?'

"But we're on the phone sometimes because managers get some free time mid-afternoon and you phone up your pals. We've spoken this week."

 Click here for the No1 coverage of all the gossip and transfer news around Birmingham City.

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Dave Williams

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