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Clark plans to give his weary troops a rest; Tired Blues set to ring changes.

Byline: Colin Tattum Our man with Blues

THE fatigue factor will be taken fully into account when Lee Clark decides on his team for tomorrow's game at Blackburn Rovers. The demands of playing back-to-back away games in the Championship with two days' recovery in between are tough enough. But as Blues had to perform for 28 minutes plus five minutes of added-time at Wigan Athletic with a man down due to Jesse Lingard's sending off, the exertions required were even more onerous. "I've got to pick a team that can continue to play the high tempo level of performance we have had," said Clark. "I've got two or three players who, fatigue-wise or fitness-wise, might struggle to do that so potentially there could be one or two changes, maybe more. "At Wigan we started high tempo, pressing, there was good quality passing, we won the ball, got some good balls into the danger zone and just needed that little bit of a ruthless streak in the penalty area, the final third. "It's pointless me sending out a team where I've got players fatigued and they can't do that. "It's a big part of our game. "When I do pick the team it will be on the basis of who can give me that energy and certainly the lads who played the full duration on Boxing Day will be feeling the effects of it because for 30-odd minutes they dug in unbelievably." " Callum Reilly, Aaron Mclean and Shane Ferguson could all come into consideration, plus? TURN TOPAGE35 Andrew Shinnie, who came on as substitute for Chris Burke in the 57th minute - five minutes before Lingard's red card - at Wigan. Blues are on an eight-game unbeaten run, their best sequence since the close to the 2011-12 regular season under Chris Hughton. In particular, Blues' younger players are maturing and becoming more battle-hardened and knowing. "There's a lot of belief there," said Clark, whose side are seven points clear of the relegation zone. "Not only are the young boys believing they can compete but they can get positive results at this level. "They were competing the early part of the season but were losing games by an odd goal against some good teams and getting a lot of praise for the performances. "And sometimes that can affect the players. But now they're getting results like Wigan where they play a third of the game with a man down, against a team who are on the up, with a new manager and I thought they were FROM BACK PAGE brilliant, each and every one of them. "The work ethic can never be questioned because it's been outstanding for 95, 98 per cent of the season. "We have had one or two blips along the way but in general terms they've been magic." Lingard begins a three-game suspension for his reckless tackle on Jordi Gomez that brought the red card. Clark, who missed the incident live, said: "I have seen it now (on DVD). It's a red card. "Jesse knows it is, we have all accepted it. "It's a rash challenge from an attacking-minded player who felt hard done by that he didn't get a free-kick a little bit earlier, and I feel the same, it was a foul on him. "But two wrongs don't make a right, do they? "He's a young boy, he will learn, and hopefully it wasn't his last action in a Birmingham jersey

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Jesse Lingard.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Dec 28, 2013
Words:577
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