Bruce has no problems with Savage

Last updated at 15:52 05 October 2007

Birmingham manager Steve Bruce and his former player Robbie Savage have buried the hatchet ahead of Sunday's Barclays Premier League clash with Blackburn at Ewood Park.

Bruce was upset at the way Savage manoeuvred a £3million move out of St Andrews to join Rovers during the January 2005 transfer window.

Robbie Savage

Savage had been the heartbeat of the Birmingham side which held its own in the Barclays Premier League for three seasons.

Within 18 months of his departure the Midlands club were back in the Coca-Cola Championship while Savage was enjoying success under Mark Hughes.

But Savage offered a handshake and an apology at last week's Carling Cup clash as Bruce admitted both sides could have dealt with his departure better.

Bruce said: "Robbie Savage came to me and shook my hand last week and apologised. I think we both could have handled his departure better.

"He was disappointed and man enough to wish it hadn't finished like that because all I was trying to do was to protect the football club.

"We lost a very good player who was very popular and a cult figure here but there you go. It is water under the bridge now. It takes a man to apologise.

"When he broke his leg last year, I felt for him and he was a really good player for me.

"I don't think Robbie took into consideration exactly what he was here. The fans thought a lot of him and I don't think he's had the adulation that he enjoyed at Blues anywhere else."

City will go into the game on the back of impressive performances which earned them a goalless draw at Liverpool and an unfortunate 1-0 defeat against Manchester United.

But Bruce knows the importance of his side maintaining that level of performance when against less glamorous opponents and stressed that point in a team meeting today.

He said: "It is okay playing well against Manchester United and Liverpool and I have to do nothing really when those teams are the opposition.

"Of course. tactically, the way you set up the team, you have to be right, but the players want to play against Manchester United and Liverpool and they have put in two really good performances.

"Now the challenge is to go and do the same somewhere like Blackburn where there is not the spotlight which is on the big teams.

"That is the big challenge that is ahead of us and they have been reminded of that in a meeting today.

"If we can play like we have done in the last couple of games then we are definitely capable of getting something out of the game, that's for sure."

Bruce has no fresh injury problems although skipper Damien Johnson (hamstring) and striker Mikael Forssell (hernia) remain long-term injury victims.

Johnson is to seek a second opinion from another specialist after suffering four hamstring setbacks in the past 12 months.

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