Backing of Blues faithful vital

“It’s a hard time for the fans as well at the moment, but you can’t say they don’t give us support," he said. "And that's what we need.

“People from Holland who follow me over here say ‘oh, the fans must be p***** off because of what's happened and the results . . '

“I say ‘listen, they keep supporting us. Their love for the Club is so big, no matter what, and that’s what I really like’.

“All the players do. We appreciate the support we get and we don’t want to give them a Wigan performance, we want to do much, much better and respond to the way they are behind us.”

The St. Andrew's atmosphere will be key against Newcastle United on Saturday. When Blues defeated Fulham there was a real togetherness and a real will from those in the stands towards those on the pitch and in the dugout.

Kieftenbeld is the kind of all-action player who can also engage the supporters by his deeds.

And he is vowing to run himself into the ground for the cause, which his new midfield brief demands.

“The manager has given me a bit of a different role. Even if we play with one striker he still wants people in the box.

“It was funny before Wolves as he pulled me and David Davis over and said he wanted us to play like second strikers when crosses came over and get into the box.

“We were talking to each other on the pitch like ‘hey, striker’, and then we both went and scored! That worked out perfectly.

“The manager wants me to defend as well, but make it into the box.

“Myself and David Davis, we have to run a lot, but we can. It’s one of our strongest points. It’s hard, but I don’t care. We need to play compact as well as get forward.

“If we can do that for the team, that’s what we will do. If you see the bench we can make changes if needed. 

"I am happy to play and I have  got the confidence of the gaffer.

“I have to run and if I do that for 60, 70 minutes, then you have Maghoma on the bench, Stewart on the bench, Frei on the bench, Gleeson on the bench . . . you have so many players who could easily be first level and start as well.

“No, I won’t hold back. I will give everything. When the engine is done, it is done.”

Saturday is the fourth meeting this season between Blues and Newcastle.

The FA Cup Third Round tie at St. Andrew's in January ended 1-1, but Lukas Jutkiewicz could easily have won it for Blues in the final few minutes, having got on the end of two good openings.

“We played really well. We were solid, really compact and also created a lot of chances," recalled Kieftenbeld.

“The last half-an-hour, 20 minutes of the game we pressed them high and created a lot of chances.

“But you can’t really compare too much to that game as they played with a lot (of First Teamers) on the bench that day. Let’s be honest. They will be stronger this game.

“However - and I know it is said a lot - but in the Championship when we have a good day we are capable, we have a big chance to win any game.”