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By ESPN Staff

Bruce ready to complete switch to Wigan

Birmingham manager Steve Bruce is on the verge of joining Wigan after Latics chairman Dave Whelan revealed a contract was virtually agreed but had not been signed.

Bruce, who has been waiting for six months to seal a new deal at St Andrews, had been destined for the exit ever since Wigan made their interest clear.

Blues gave the former Manchester United defender the chance to speak to Whelan on Friday and it appears talks are now at an advanced stage.

'We will have a meeting with Steve on Monday and we are hoping we can make an announcement on Monday or Tuesday,' the Wigan chairman told Radio 5 Live's Sportsweek programme.

'We look like we have a contract agreed but nothing has been signed. There is no doubt from the very start when we approached he was keen to come to Wigan.'

Whelan admitted it has cost the club somewhere in the region of £3million in compensation to prise Bruce from Birmingham but he felt the fee was worth it.

'There is a clause in there and we have to honour that. We have agreed that with Birmingham,' he added. 'To get a manager of Steve Bruce's quality I think that is a bargain.'

Once Bruce's contract has been signed the next hurdle will be to try to persuade Birmingham to allow his assistant Eric Black to join him at the JJB.

However, the St Andrews board are keen to retain the services of Black to ensure some continuity as plans for appointing Bruce's replacement remain in the balance while uncertainty over the proposed takeover by Hong Kong businessman Carson Yeung continues.

'Eric Black has to be agreed between Steve and the management,' explained Whelan. 'I understand Birmingham want some continuity. He wants to come with Steve because a team always stays together.

'Whether he will come immediately I don't know. It is a mess when you are looking for a new manager. Everything is stirred up. It is never a happy time and the sooner it is over and Steve joins us I will be a very happy man.'