PHIL Parkinson says Wanderers are “alive and kicking” in the Championship relegation dogfight after beating Birmingham City.

Callum Connolly’s header earned Bolton a surprise victory at St Andrew’s, leaving them two points from safety.

Parkinson felt the performance set the standard his side will need to meet more often if they are going to avoid the drop.

“On Saturday I said to the lads that we needed to get a bit of identity back,” he said. “If people play Bolton they need to know they are going to have a tough game, run themselves into the ground.

“It was missing at the weekend but it was back tonight. It shows we’re alive and kicking and ready for the fight that lies ahead.”

Connolly headed home Luke Murphy’s cross in the 71st minute to earn Bolton their first away win since August.

Parkinson also had words of praise for Remi Matthews, who pulled off a stunning injury-time save from Che Adams to preserve the points.

“I am pleased for Callum, he grew into the game. He’s a real winner and he showed that tonight with his determination to get on the end of that typified the result.

“Remi’s save at the end is top class but that’s when you need your goalkeeper to produce moments like that to ensure we won.

“We’re very pleased, we needed it for ourselves as a group. It was a full-on committed performance, sticking to the game-plan, people doing a job and a half for the team.

“We needed it. Saturday was only 2-1 but it was not a performance we were happy with and tonight we have responded in the correct manner. And it’s what it is going to take.

“Birmingham went to QPR with their array of attacking talent and tore them apart. So to play as well as we did is a great lift for us all.”