Pennant loyal to Blues cause
By Andrew Scurr. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
Birmingham City winger Jermaine Pennant has insisted he is happy at the club despite continuing interest from Liverpool.
Blues have so far rejected the advances of the Premiership giants for the former Arsenal man and despite their relegation to The Championship, have been able to hold onto the majority of their stars.
Striker Emile Heskey made an instant return to the top-flight with Wigan, while defender Kenny Cunningham left the club at the end of last season, but otherwise their Championship squad will be similar to last season's with a few astute additions.
Pennant continues to be linked with a move away from the club during the summer but Birmingham have slapped an £8 million price tag on him in the hope of frightening off interest from Premiership clubs for the player they paid £3 million for last summer.
The 23-year-old insists he is fully focused on the task ahead of helping the St Andrews outfit win promotion back to The Premiership next season and has put speculation of a move away from the club to the back of his mind.
"I still have two years left on my contract and Birmingham have said nothing to me about whether they want to let me go or they have agreed anything with another club. And Liverpool haven't contacted me, so that's it," Pennant told the Birmingham Mail.
"I am taking every day as it comes as a Birmingham player. All the speculation and stuff doesn't bother me. If no-one actually says anything to me, then I ignore it.
"Like I said, I'm still here and I'm looking forward to the start of the season. No-one likes to get relegated. And we shouldn't have gone down, everyone knows that.
"That's in the past now, let's look to the future, try and rebuild and get back into the Premiership. We've got some new players in who are keen to impress, and mainly the same squad as last season.
"I'm sure what we are doing, all the hard work in training, and the determination of everyone, we will take those things into the Championship. I think we've definitely got a chance of coming back up.
"Although people like Emile Heskey and Kenny Cunningham have gone, we've still got a big squad with quality players and we can push to win the league."
Meanwhile, Liverpool have denied making an improved bid for Pennant.
Manager Rafa Benitez is still on the lookout for reinforcements ahead of the new season and is reportedly considering matching Birmingham's asking price after Daniel Alves' switch to Anfield stalled.
However, chief executive Rick Parry has confirmed that The Reds have not tabled a fresh bid but were still monitoring the situation.
"We have not made a bid for Jermaine Pennant," Parry said in the Liverpool Echo.