Neil Danns says there will be no favours when Bolton Wanderers take on former club Birmingham City
NEIL Danns once sampled the high life with Birmingham City but now has no qualms about sending them crashing into League One.
It is with a heavy heart that the all-action midfielder would send the Blues towards relegation this afternoon, if he helps Wanderers to a win that would seal his former club’s fate.
Just seven years ago, Danns was helping Steve Bruce’s side to second place in the Championship behind Sunderland, joined in the Birmingham squad that season by ex-Whites Fabrice Muamba and Radhi Jaidi.
But now a bona fide Wanderer after agreeing a 12-month deal for next season, Danns only has designs on getting Bolton to the promised land.
“I can only look at this game as a Bolton Wanderers player and as one I want to win,” he said.
“It has been a long season, so ultimately it isn’t just this one game that it boils down to for relegation.
“What happens to Birmingham is nothing to do with me now but I obviously have a soft spot for them, having experienced promotion with them.
“Football moves on and my job now is to help win this game.”
Danns will sign officially from Leicester in the summer after a successful double loan spell that saw him voted runner-up to Tim Ream by the official supporters association for the player of the year award.
Even though this season could hardly have been a better introduction for the Liverpool lad, he already has one eye on starting with a clean slate next term. “I’ve enjoyed myself so much since I came here,” he said. “It’s the icing on the cake to be able to sign permanently and to look forward to next season.
“Even though the season is finishing now, I can’t wait to get going again.
“I think the sky is the limit for us. In recent months we have shown the sort of form that, had we started that way, we’d be challenging for the play-offs.
“The aim next season is to get the club promoted. All the boys have got the exact same mindset as me for next season. We want to be challenging for those promotion spots.”
Danns was forced to watch his parent club Leicester win the title at the Reebok a fortnight ago, an experience the 31-year-old admits stirred up some strong emotions.
“When you see the celebrations, Leicester lifting the trophy on the pitch, it’s tough. But it makes you want to do it again.
“I’ve been there before with Birmingham, I know how good that feels, and there’s nothing I’d want more than to experience that again.”
Dougie Freedman is delighted to be able to call on Danns’ services next season, hailing the midfielder as a missing piece of the puzzle when he arrived back in October.
“I think we lacked one or two characters like Dannsy,” he said.
“It wasn’t a case of bringing big stars into the team at that point in the season – it was bringing in people who would show right away what I expected in terms of attitude and professionalism. “Dannsy did that for me. He brought a few players around him right up to speed.”