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Everton assistant hails 'professional' Stones

Everton
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By ESPN Staff

Birmingham will fight to keep Upson

David Gold has has insisted Birmingham will do 'everything possible' to retain the services of central defender Matthew Upson until at least the end of the season.

Upson is being linked with a move away from St Andrews next month now that he has returned to full fitness after pelvis and Achilles problems sidelined him for 10 months.

The England defender rejected a new five-year contract last season and could leave for nothing on a Bosman transfer in 18 months' time.

But Blues chairman Gold wants Upson, a target last season for Liverpool, Tottenham and Newcastle, to stay with the midlands club and help their bid to regain Premiership status at the first attempt.

He said: 'I do not think it is a fait accompli that Matthew Upson will be leaving Birmingham City next month.

'We will do everything we possibly can to keep hold of him and everything we can to take him back up to the Premiership with us if we make it.

'If we are six or seven points clear at the top of the table at the end of January, and Matthew can see we are genuine contenders, that will only help us to keep him.

'But it you are mid-table in this division you simply cannot hold onto quality players, England internationals.'

Gold admitted: 'There has been a new contract on the table for Matthew for some time now but I can understand his hesitance.

'I would guess he is keeping his options open because he would not want to get locked into a long-term contract with a mediocre club. We have to show we are not one of those.'

Upson joined Birmingham for £3million from Arsenal in the January 2003 transfer window and formed a solid partnership with Kenny Cunningham.

But his absence for the second half of last season was a key reason why Blues were not able to hold onto their top-flight status.