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The Toe Poke
By ESPN Staff

Birmingham turn down West Ham bid for Upson

Birmingham have rejected a £4million bid from West Ham for central defender Matthew Upson. Blues boss Steve Bruce has constantly stressed he is under no pressure to sell Upson during the January transfer window.

And in any case the bid made by the Hammers falls well short of Blues' valuation of the former Arsenal player - believed to be around £6million.

Alan Curbishley has injury worries regarding the defensive trio of Daniel Gabbidon, James Collins and Anton Ferdinand and was hoping Upson could solve his problems.

Upson's former club Arsenal would be entitled to a 25% cut of any fee above the £2.5million City paid for him in January 2003.

Bruce is hoping Upson will help Championship leaders Birmingham gain promotion back to the Barclays Premiership and then have a rethink about his future after rejecting a new five-year contract last season.

Bruce's number two Eric Black has emerged as a possible candidate for the vacant Coventry post after Micky Adams was sacked yesterday.

Black previously had a spell in charge of the Sky Blues but was ousted to allow Peter Reid to take over the reins nearly three years ago.

Bruce does not want to lose the services of Black and has consistently praised the part he has played in City's revival this season.