Tainio sanguine about future

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Birmingham's on-loan midfielder Teemu Tainio admits he is now "open-minded" about his long term future.

Tainio had previously expressed a desire to try and convince Blues boss Alex McLeish he was worthy of a permanent deal. But the Sunderland man is facing fresh competition at St Andrew's from January arrivals Craig Gardner Aston Villa and Michel Sporting Gijon.

"I have one more year at Sunderland on my contract. If the club tell me I am staying, then I stay," said Tainio.

"I am really open-minded on my future. I will just play to the end of the season with Birmingham and hopefully I will get a few more games.

"When you see what the team has done this year, it's really good. It's hard to say what will happen but I am open-minded."

Tainio has just returned to full fitness after undergoing knee surgery and is ready to challenge for a spot despite the additions to McLeish's squad.

He said: "I am pleased I am back. My knee feels good. I haven't had any problems since the operation.

"The injury is done and dusted and I hope I can get to play a part.

"I had a chat with the manager when I was near to fitness and he said it would be tough to get in again because the team was playing well.

"When I was out, a few midfielders came in. You need a big squad because there are a lot of games. There is a big fight for places here. There are a very good bunch of midfielders here. But I am ready for the challenge."

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Premier League
Teemu Tainio
Aston Villa
Craig Gardner

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