Boss hopes to keep prized pair
Wigan boss Steve Bruce has spoken of his hopes of keeping Amr Zaki and Emile Heskey next term.
Last Updated: 22/10/08 5:40pm
Wigan boss Steve Bruce has spoken of his hopes of keeping the Amr Zaki - Emile Heskey partnership at the club next term.
The pair's great form of late is attracting other clubs' interest but Bruce hopes he came keep them at the JJB.
Zaki is currently on loan from Zamalek and leads the Premier League scoring table with seven goals in his first eight games, including a memorable double against Liverpool on Saturday.
Bruce insists that Wigan have an agreement in principle with the Cairo club to sign Zaki at the end of his loan stint.
But among possible suitors is Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez, who has confirmed he is checking on the Egyptian striker.
Meanwhile Heskey is enjoying a renaissance at present, earning a regular starting berth under new England boss Fabio Capello.
The striker is out of contract in the summer and recently admitted it would be 'lovely' if he made a return to Liverpool.
But Bruce hopes he can keep the pair and says talks are ongoing with both players.
"We are in the driving seat because we have got them until June so we will very gradually and slowly and bit by bit try - they know that we want to try and keep them," Bruce told Sky Sports, adding the club have been in talks with the players' representatives for weeks.
"We will try our utmost - whether something will crack this week, next month, the month after who knows."
He agreed it was great that the club had players of such stature in its ranks.
"Who would have thought 15 years ago that Wigan would have the top goal-scorer in the Premier League and an England centre-forward - that shows how far the club has come," he said.
Zaki himself said he appreciated the favour which he owed to the manager, to the supporters and the players, adding he was happy at Wigan.
He said: "I think it is a great achievement to play in Wigan and I would like to show my loyalty to them by playing and showing myself as best as I can."