Alex McLeish has conceded Birmingham have only a "slim" chance of retaining goalkeeper Joe Hart on loan from Manchester City for a second season.
But the Blues boss claims Hart would be "devastated" if he has to return to Eastlands as the number two keeper.
He said: "At the moment, the chances of Joe coming back next season are slim. Manchester City haven't made their mind up on the matter. I'm sure if they got into the Champions League, they might want to keep Joe. But, saying that, he's a number one goalkeeper now and I know he wouldn't be happy sitting on the bench."
McLeish added: "Joe sees himself very much as a number one goalie now and it would probably devastate him if he has to sit on the bench next season.
"But he is a Manchester City player and we have to look at other options."
Maik Taylor is set for a rare outing when Birmingham visit Eastlands on Sunday as Hart will be ineligible to face his parent club.
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