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Stern John today revealed his sadness at leaving Blues - and tipped them to be top six Premiership contenders.

The Trinidad & Tobago striker, who switched to Coventry City in a £200,000 deal to make room for compatriot Dwight Yorke, said he believed he was set for life at Blues.

"I'm very sad and disappointed to have left Birmingham," the 27-year-old admitted in a special interview with the Evening Mail. "I was settled at the club and I thought I'd finish my career there.

"The fans were wonderful to me throughout, the best in the league, and I'd like to say 'thank you' to them for their support.

"Unfortunately, things happen in football and all I've got left now are good memories.

"I was part of something at Birmingham, I'd like to think I did my bit in helping the club into the Premiership and then keeping them there that first season.

"I always believed I had a lot to offer at that level. And I've proved I can score in the Premiership, while, as an international, my record stands up.

"Unfortunately, like all clubs in that division, when they buy players they tend to go for strikers, they're all looking for them, and I lost out.

"I've no problems with Steve Bruce, I like him a lot and owe him a lot. But I always worked hard over the summer to come back in good shape for pre-season, but I never really got a chance.

"I can understand it in a way because for a club to progress, new players are always going to come in and Brucie went out and made some big signings this summer.

"The team's got off to a bad start this season, but I think things will turn. The new players will have to gel and stuff, but there's some real quality at Birmingham and I can definitely see them becoming a top five, top six club."

John hit eight goals in 18 games after signing for £150,000 from Nottingham Forest in February 2002, which were key in catapulting Blues to promotion.

His 90th minute winner in the First Division play-off semi-final against Millwall and the equal-iser four-and-a-half minutes into stoppage time at Villa last season will never be forgotten by Blues fans.

But frustration at coming off the bench more often than not - 31 substitute appearances to 42 starts in the league - always gnawed away at him.

"Hopefully I've taken one step back to go two forward by joining Coventry," he said.

"In my own mind, I am a Premiership player, I am Premiership quality, and I want to get back there with them."