Birmingham boss Alex McLeish believes his hope of retaining goalkeeper Joe Hart on loan for a second season will hinge on whether Manchester City qualify for the Champions League.

McLeish is keen to retain the services of a player who has put himself in strong contention to be a part of Fabio Capello's World Cup squad. But he concedes he may have to look elsewhere if Roberto Mancini's side finish in the top four and qualify for football's leading club competition.

"I guess Roberto Mancini and his staff have got to have a good think about it," said McLeish. "Who knows, if they are in the Champions' League next season then they might feel they need two top-class keepers."

Hart has been in outstanding form for Blues during his current season-long loan at St Andrew's and has played a major role in establishing them back in the Barclays Premier League.

McLeish added: "We do intend to speak to Joe, his father and his agent in the coming weeks.

"I believe the club have made contact with Manchester City to try and get a meeting to see where they see Joe's future next season.

"It is a massive position for us and that is why I would like to get City's nod of approval for Joe to come again next season so we know what we are doing.

"I do need to make my plans for next season. If it looks like it's going to be a last-minute job and the answer will be a positive, then we'll do that, but it would be nice to know what City's thoughts are."

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Joe Hart
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