McLeish denies Espinoza rift

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Birmingham manager Alex McLeish has hit back at claims he is at loggerheads with Blues' board of directors over the signing of central defender Giovanny Espinoza.

The former Scotland boss was reported to be upset with co-owner David Sullivan for allegedly signing the Ecuador international without his consent from Sporting Club Barcelona, but McLeish insists he has a sound relationship with the City hierarchy and is happy with the financial backing he has received so far this summer in bringing in six new faces.

McLeish, in a statement, said: "The board has given me great backing so far so I'm dismayed by claims suggesting I am not happy with the signing of Espinoza."

He added: "The deal made good financial sense and, although he's a rookie in English terms, he has vast international experience. It will be up to the centre-backs to compete as I attempt to build a solid spine.

"There are absolutely no problems with the board. I'm happy with all the signings and happy with the support I've had from them and to suggest otherwise is ridiculous."

Espinoza will be competing with other newcomers in Roger Johnson (signed from Cardiff) and Scott Dann (Coventry) for a place at the heart of the defence.

McLeish has acted quickly to try to avert a repeat of last season's scenario when his relationship with the board was strained at times.

He was concerned at one point about comments made by Karren Brady in a newspaper column about his signings and the performances of the team.

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Roger Johnson
Premier League
Cardiff City
Scott Dann
Coventry City
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