Midlands duo battle for Gardner

Both clubs are understood to have held a long-term interest in the

versatile performer and they are ready to firm up their interest

when the transfer window reopens in January. Gardner has found

himself out of favour at Villa Park this season making only three

appearances in the first-team and he could be tempted to move on in

search of regular action. Villa boss Martin O’Neill is believed to

be willing to sell the former England Under-21 international for

the right fee as he considers raising funds for his own signings.

Birmingham are thought to be leading the chase for Gardner and

their financial muscle could see them beat Wolves to the

midfielder’s signature. He has made only three appearances for

Villa this season and will be allowed to leave the club for a fee

of about £3million.