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BIRMINGHAM manager Trevor Francis is watching Derby County striker Deon Burton - and may have talks with the Midlands club in the coming days.

Francis had expressed interest in Burton during the summer but the clubs could not agree a fee. His renewed interest comes as the proposed transfer of Paul Kitson is hanging in the balance.

He is still hoping that the Kitson deal will go through before Saturday's game against Sheffield United, and the result of that will determine how far he goes with his Burton interest.

The Kitson deal will cost the Blues around £2.2 million and the board would be unlikely to grant Francis more money for players until he can cut down his current squad.

"I spoke to Jim Smith yesterday and he assured me that Dean would be in the starting line-up against Middlesbrough," said Francis.

"That made it worthwhile going, it gave me a chance to look at the player because I am still interested in him."

"Last time, we couldn't agree on a price with Derby and I still don't know whether there is any room for manoeuvre, but it is an avenue we are still pursuing."