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The Toe Poke
By ESPN Staff

Bruce denies move for Czech striker Koller

Birmingham manager Steve Bruce has dismissed speculation he is about to sign veteran Czech striker Jan Koller from Monaco.

The 34-year-old is said to be unsettled at the French club but Bruce insisted St Andrews would not be his next port of call.

Bruce said: 'Am I close to signing Jan Koller? That's a load of rubbish. There is no chance of that happening. The first I knew of it was when I read about it.'

The City chief would like to bring in another striker after the collapse of the deal to sign Mido who has since joined Middlesbrough from Tottenham.

But a creative midfield player remains a number one priority after Bruce pulled out of the deal to sign another Spurs player in Hossam Ghaly.

He is also short of cover in that department at present with skipper Damien Johnson (hamstring) and Johan Djourou (ankle) being sidelined.

Bruce has received two pieces of encouraging injury news regarding striker Mikael Forssell and defender Rafael Schmitz.

Forssell suffered a calf injury in the weekend defeat by West Ham while there were fears Schmitz, on a season-long loan from Lille, might require an Achilles tendon operation.

Bruce said: 'Mikael should be okay, for the weekend possibly (against Derby), and we might get away with Rafael not requiring surgery and instead having rehab work.'

Meanwhile, keeper Richard Kingson, signed on a free transfer after playing for FC Hammarby last season, will turn out for the reserves against Reading at Solihull tonight.

The Ghana international is challenging Colin Doyle and Maik Taylor for a place this season.

Bruce confirmed: 'Richard has got his work permit and he will play for the reserves.'