Fitness key to Birmingham City success - Nathan Redmond

Nathan Redmond
The form of Redmond (l) follows the sale of Jean Beausejour to Wigan

Birmingham City's habit of scoring vital goals in the final minutes of games is no accident according to young winger Nathan Redmond.

The 17-year-old scored the game's only goal after 86 minutes to see off Portsmouth at St Andrew's on Tuesday.

"It's definitely a fitness thing, the staff have been superb with us having Europe and playing more games than most teams," he told BBC WM.

"That's just what we do here at St Andrew's, a lot of late winners."

Doncaster and Ipswich are among the other teams to be denied at the death over recent weeks, and Redmond says it is not only the players' conditioning that keeps them going for the full 90 minutes.

"We've a really tight squad, that's why the gaffer didn't really bring anyone in and tried not to let too many people go.

"I'm enjoying every bit of the learning aspect as well as the playing aspect so I'm just taking it game by game to see how it goes."

The victory over Portsmouth saw Chris Hughton's team move into the top three of the Championship table having finally played all the games-in-hand accrued through their participation in the Europa League.

Their current nine-match unbeaten run has taken Blues from being an outside bet for the play-offs to genuine contenders for an automatic promotion spot.

"It's definitely a useful position," acknowledged Redmond.

"We've been the silent creepers up the Championship over the past couple of months and we didn't think we'd get there as soon as we have. A few teams are starting to notice us now."

The teenager has caught the eye of several Premier League clubs, but his progression is being handled carefully by Hughton and the rest of the St Andrew's coaching staff during his rookie season of first-team football.

Tuesday night's winning goal was his fourth of the season, and arguably the most important.

"It felt great just to come off the bench and help the team secure three points," the Birmingham-born forward stressed.

"I didn't think I'd take it as well as that, but it was a great goal, especially in front of the Tilton (End) because that's the loudest noise."