Blues boss desperate to keep Hart

Hart is on loan from Manchester City and has played a major part in

Blues establishing themselves in the top 10 of the Premier League

and reaching the quarter-finals of the FA Cup. In an ideal world

McLeish would like to make the move permanent for a player who

would be reluctant to go back to Eastlands as a number two to Shay

Given after tasting regular top flight action. But the former

Scotland boss would be content if Birmingham can keep Hart for

another 12 months. McLeish said: “We spoke to City a couple of

months ago. Joe has had no contact from them and we’ve had no

contact. “But I know I’ve put into the system that our chief

executive should be talking to City about next season. “If I can’t

get Hart permanent, would I settle for another loan season? Yes.

“Joe loves his team-mates, he loves the club, the ambience. When

you have a feelgood factor, then players can give of their best

form and play without fear. “We have ironed out a few rough edges

and I hope City recognise that and give us a bit of goodwill for

next season – if you are listening Man City! “Sometimes you can

learn under different coaches and maybe do things different ways.

We’d like to think we have definitely improved Joe with some of the

stuff we have worked on.” McLeish has reiterated his belief that

Hart should be part of England’s World Cup squad and Fabio Capello

has indicated he is pleased with the progress of the former

Shrewsbury player. But McLeish is hoping Hart does not go to South

Africa as number one and would benefit from playing games for his

country in a less high-profile situation than a World Cup. McLeish

said: “I met Fabio at Wembley at an LMA dinner and he expressed his

delight at Joe. He is pleased he is playing games every week. “I’m

not picking Fabio’s team but I think Joe has earned the right to go

to the World Cup. “He has got to the stage now where I am sure

Fabio will have his name ticked for the journey (to South Africa).

“But it would be a massive step to throw a young keeper into

playing in a World Cup who has not been capped before. “I think Joe

could handle it but it would be better to be fed into the system

before you embark on a World Cup finals. “If he was to make one

error in the World Cup finals, it is there for the whole world to

see and you are scrutinised and the media are relentless in their

persecution of people who make a mistake at that level. “He should

be eased in. He needs to get games. I would think Capello would

rely on experience in South Africa in terms of who plays.”