McLeish must make Benitez call

Birmingham City manager Alex McLeish will decide whether to sign Christian Benitez on a permanent basis later this month after watching the Ecuador international net in Saturday's 2-1 victory against relegated Burnley.

Benitez, who has been on a season-long loan deal at St Andrew's from Mexican club Santos Laguna, has netted only four goals in all competitions this term, with Saturday's strike being his first on home soil.

McLeish confirmed after the victory, which ended an eight-match winless sequence for the Blues:"We'll cross that bridge regarding Benitez's future when we come to it. I'll assess everything in the next couple of weeks.

"We have a deadline of May 25 to decide what we want to do. He's done well for us and we have to consider everything.

"Something could be sorted out before then. The fee is written into the deal but, you never know, loads of deals have been like that before and have become negotiable."

The victory finally saw City reach 50 points for the season, the first time they have reached the half-century landmark in English football's top-flight for 50 years and McLeish added:"We were very keen to get on to 50 points and it was very important to sustain the home record. Not to lose here since September is a marvellous achievement.

"At the beginning of the season we targeted a point a game. Our tally could have been even higher. We've stuttered recently in terms of results but not performances."

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