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MLS first-half overachievers, underachievers

MLS All-Star Game
By ESPN Staff

Bruce: We're Dunn for

Birmingham manager Steve Bruce is resigned to being without midfielder David Dunn for the final three matches of the campaign.

Dunn suffered the latest in a long line of injury setbacks when he limped out of last Sunday's derby clash with Aston Villa because of a calf injury.

The former Blackburn player has been restricted to only eight Premiership starts during the current campaign and Bruce has written him out of his plans for the games with Everton, Newcastle and Bolton.

Bruce said: 'I can't see David playing again this season. You feel sorry for the lad. When you've only played something like two 90 minutes in two years it does become very difficult.

'There comes a time when whatever you say or do can't help the kid. He is a devastated footballer who just wants to play. He will need to be tough.'

Dunn was ruled out for eight months after undergoing back surgery in January 2005 which related to nerves affecting his hamstrings.

He made a comeback in October but niggly thigh, hamstring and calf setbacks have meant he has never regained full match sharpness.

Bruce is also pessimistic about the chances of Stan Lazaridis being able to feature again because of a groin problem.

But he is more optimistic about Jiri Jarosik, Stephen Clemence and Muzzy Izzet being fit for the game with Newcastle on April 29.

Winger Jermaine Pennant and striker Emile Heskey are given a 50-50 chance of being fit for Saturday's clash with Everton at Goodison Park.

Pennant limped out of the midweek win over Blackburn after half an hour with a groin problem while Heskey had to come off early in the second period with an ankle setback.

Bruce said: 'We will give the two of them as long as possible to try and be fit for Saturday. Their chances are around about 50-50.'

Pennant is Birmingham's only ever-present player in the Premiership this season, having made 32 starts and three appearances as substitute.