CHRIS Hughton has directed the credit for Blues’ upward surge in the Championship firmly towards the players.
Hughton and his management staff have done a sterling job in fashioning Blues into a genuine promotion contender since the upheaval in the summer, balancing the ins and outs and juggling the Europa League commitments.
But Hughton said the squad should take the plaudits – and Blues had done nothing yet.
“Everything goes to the players,” said Hughton, whose side take on Wolves at Molineux tomorrow in an FA Cup third-round replay.
“We’ve had a real tough first half of the season. These boys like playing games and we have played an awful lot more games than anybody else.
“Some clubs will have big squads and they are able to utilise what they have got. Ours isn’t as big and these lads have been magnificent.
“But they have a target. What they all want to do is to be playing Premier League football.
“The only way to do that is to get into the play-offs positions and stay there.
“It’s been difficult for us. We’ve always been behind everyone else in games. Four at one stage, three at other times.
“When you’ve played the same amount of games then it’s a little bit more realistic to assess where you are.
“All the credit goes to the players but we are only just past that halfway stage.”
Blues are seventh in the table – they were sixth for a couple of hours after Saturday’s 6-0 drubbing of Millwall – with a game in hand.
Going into October, Blues were 19th as Southampton, Middlesbrough and Derby County set the pace at the top.
Unbeaten at home, they still have all of the teams above them, bar West Ham United, to visit St Andrew’s.
Tomorrow, Hughton is likely to make some changes to his side, as he did in the first meeting.
“We are hoping Pablo Ibanez will be available,’’ he said.