Brum boss desperate to keep Hart

Alex McLeish has told Birmingham chief executive Michael Dunford to

step up attempts to keep Joe Hart at the club for at least another


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