Birmingham boss closes on new contract

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Birmingham manager Alex McLeish is in talks over a new contract and vice-chairman Peter Pannu believes an agreement is close.

McLeish, whose contract expires in 18 months, met with Pannu and chief executive Michael Dunford on Monday to discuss terms for a new deal.

And Pannu, quoted in the Birmingham Mail, said: "I spent about two hours on Monday with Alex, together with the chief executive. We have gone through a contract."

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He added: "We have indicated to him, in no uncertain terms, that we want to have a future with him at the club. We told him that we want him to stay.

"We have indicated to Alex the sort of terms we will be offering to him and he received them very, very well. He will be meeting Carson (Yeung, the club's owner) personally when Carson flies in at the end of this week."

Pannu also revealed a deal is in place giving the Blues priority on a second season-long loan deal for Manchester City keeper Joe Hart - but ruled out a permanent signing.

"They very politely rejected our approach to them to purchase him," he said. "They have said they will let him stay here for another season on loan, but he is not for sale.

"They appreciate the way Alex has built him up and will give us priority on the loan deal. He will be with us for another season, unless anything changes. That is the position."

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