Bent handed exit strategy

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Alex McLeish has paved the way for Marcus Bent to leave Birmingham in January after confirming the striker has no future at the club.

McLeish brought the well travelled striker to St Andrew's from Charlton in a £1million move in 2008. But the 32-year-old has fallen down the pecking order and spent the first half of the campaign on loan at local rivals Wolves.

And Mcleish said: "Marcus knows he does not have a future here at Birmingham. He will be trying to get a new club in January."

Bent is the second experienced striker that McLeish has been prepared to offload.

He decided earlier in the month not to renew the six-month contract of Scotland international Garry O'Connor. who has now joined Barnsley after a loan spell at Oakwell.

O'Connor was only offered a short-term deal by Birmingham last summer after requiring operations on both hips.

McLeish is keen to add to his striking department during the forthcoming transfer window with Tottenham's Robbie Keane a leading target.

He currently has Nikola Zigic and Cameron Jerome as his front-line forwards with veteran Kevin Phillips and Matt Derbyshire as back-up.

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