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Robbo in for Bruce.

Middlesbrough may be ready offer Steve Bruce a way out of his nightmare at Birmingham City.

Boro boss Bryan Robson could be back with a second bid for his former Manchester United teammate.

Robson tried to prise Bruce away from the Midlands last season but the move fell through. Now Robson needs a central defender - and Bruce is desperate to get away, with his switch to Birmingham turning sour.

Robson is under orders to take Boro straight back up to the Premier League but his plans were hit yesterday after strong-man defender Nigel Pearson lasted only 27 minutes in a reserve team comeback.

It was when Boro lost their skipper through injury last season that Robson made an approach for Bruce.

Without 34-year-old Pearson, Boro slid down the table and were in a relegation position when he returned.

Now Robson could make another offer with Boro short of central defender cover.

Scottish international Derek Whyte is currently operating on a week-to- week contract and could leave.

Bruce moved to Birmingham nearly 15 months ago after being handed a shock free transfer by Manchester United. But manager Trevor Francis left him out of the side against Gillingham in the Coca Cola Cup last week.

Wealthy Middlesbrough would have no trouble matching the 36-year-old's pounds 17,000-a-week contract.

Robson stepped up his efforts to sign Tony Yeboah last night, refusing to accept that the Leeds misfit won't drop into the First Division.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:Edwards, John
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 22, 1997
Words:240
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