Bruce eyes Austrian
By Alex Livie. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
Birmingham boss Steve Bruce has set his sights on strengthening his defensive options with the capture of Austrian international Paul Scharner.
The 25-year-old caught Bruce's eye when producing a starring display for Brann Bergen during a pre-season friendly between the two sides this summer.
Bruce is aware of the need to bring in fresh defensive options and has opened talks with Brann with regard to a January transfer.
"We are definitely looking at Scharner," said Bruce. "He is a fantastic player.
''We are trying to negotiate but, at the moment, that hasn't been easy.
"With Kenny Cunningham out of contract in the summer - and he will make his own mind up about what he wants to do - we need to address that part of the team.
"I'm keen on bringing in a few players. I'm looking at two or three and hopefully we will be bringing players in during the transfer window."
Bruce is also looking to ensure he retains the services of Matthew Upson by thrashing out a new deal with the former Arsenal stopper.
Upson is tied to Blues until the summer of 2008, but Bruce is keen to hand him a longer contract.
"We tried to speak to Matthew in the summer about a new contract," revealed Bruce. "We've got him for this year and another two years so there isn't an initial hurry.
"Obviously, with someone like him, you would like to tie him down for the next four or five years if we could and I'll have that conversation again.
"But I think we are all in the real world now and we understand what this Bosman situations means. We've got to accept that players can keep their options open and they've got every right to do that.
"In an ideal world I'd love to tie him - and Mario Melchiot - up on long-term deals because players of their quality don't come around very often."