SKY BLUES PREPARE HUGHES BID
By Adam Marshall. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
COVENTRY CITY are ready to move for West Brom hot-shot Lee Hughes, if John Hartson completes a move to Celtic.
Welsh international Hartson has emerged as a target for Martin O'Neill at Parkhead, after seeing a move to Glasgow rivals collapse last year.
The Sky Blues are demanding £7 million for the former West Ham man, but City chairman Bryan Richardson appears to have conceded that the 26-year-old is on his way.
"After much persuasion by Gordon Strachan and myself, John Hartson decided, two weeks ago, to remain at Coventry," he said in a statement.
"If John was to be sold not, it would only be on the basis that he had changed his mind once again.
"We have no wish to sell John Hartson but would also never keep a player who was not 100 percent committed to the club.
"Were John to change his mind again, this would obviously be a major blow to us at this stage in the pre-season build-up but, if we have to deal with it, we will."
Hughes is out of contract at the end of next season and West Brom realise they need to cash in on his talents, or lose the striker under the Bosman Ruling.
"I do not want Hughes to go," said Baggies boss Gary Megson. "We've got the best centre forward in the First Division and I hope that we can put something in front of him that will persuade him to stay."
Birmingham are also keen on the 25-year-old but have, so far, failed in their bid to lure him to St Andrews.
Blues supremo David Sullivan admitted: "The player has a year left on his contract and would want untold money in wages because he can wait and go for nothing in a year.
"His value to the club goes down unless they sell now, and they would want a vast amount too.
"Everyone and every thing has got a price and yes, we are interested in Lee Hughes."