McLeish keen to keep Hart

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Alex McLeish has told Birmingham chief executive Michael Dunford to step up attempts to keep keeper Joe Hart at St Andrew's for at least another season.

Hart is on loan from Manchester City and has played a major part in Blues establishing themselves in the top 10 of the Barclays Premier League and reaching the quarter-finals of the FA Cup. In an ideal world McLeish would like to make the move permanent for a player who would be reluctant to go back to Eastlands as a number two to Shay Given after tasting regular top flight action.

But the former Scotland boss would be content if Birmingham can keep Hart for another 12 months, and he said: "We spoke to City a couple of months ago. Joe has had no contact from them and we've had no contact. But I know I've put into the system that our chief executive should be talking to City about next season."

He added: "If I can't get Hart permanent, would I settle for another loan season? Yes.

"Joe loves his team-mates, he loves the club, the ambience. When you have a feelgood factor, then players can give of their best form and play without fear.

"We have ironed out a few rough edges and I hope City recognise that and give us a bit of goodwill for next season - if you are listening Man City!

"Sometimes you can learn under different coaches and maybe do things different ways. We'd like to think we have definitely improved Joe with some of the stuff we have worked on."

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Joe Hart
Manchester City
Premier League
Shay Given
FA Cup

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