Tainio ‘open-minded’ over 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. Tainio said: “I have one more year at Sunderland on my

contract. If the club tell me I am staying, then I stay. “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.”