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Singapore's Hariss named in AFF Best XI

By ESPN Staff

Birmingham boss Bruce 'willing to talk to Wigan'

Steve Bruce will be willing to hold talks with Wigan over their vacant managerial post if Birmingham give him permission, according to sources close to the former Manchester United skipper.

Bruce is remaining tight-lipped after Wigan approached Blues for permission to speak to him following the sacking of Chris Hutchings and the decision of Paul Jewell not to return to JJB Stadium.

But the uncertainty over his own future and that of the midlands club may tempt Bruce to end a six-year stay at St Andrews and be reunited with the Latics - for whom he had a six-week spell in charge during 2001.

City's prospective new owner Carson Yeung has not sanctioned the new contract Bruce agreed with chairman David Gold and co-owner David Sullivan six months ago.

And Bruce is in limbo in terms of making plans for the second half of the season as he has no idea how much money Yeung will make available for new signings during the January transfer window - if the Hong Kong businessman takes control.

A source close to Bruce said: 'Steve has worked with Dave Whelan (Wigan owner) in the past and got on fine with him and the club even though it was for only around six weeks.

'He has been trying for a new contract at Birmingham for six months and, if Birmingham give him permission, he would like to talk to Wigan.

'Everything is up in the air at Birmingham. He doesn't know how much money he will have to spend in January and has no guarantees about his own future.

'Steve has got a lot of affection for the club but the time has come where he has got to think about himself.

'For all he knows, there might not be a job for him in the new year if the takeover goes through.'

Bruce held talks with Yeung a fortnight ago, ironically after the home clash with Wigan, and it was said the meeting was 'positive'.

But there has been contact since then and Bruce is becoming increasingly frustrated at the current situation.

Bolton had an approach to speak to Bruce rejected by Birmingham last month before appointing Gary Megson as the successor to Sammy Lee.