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Football: City reject pounds 2m bid for Macca; Birmingham boss Steve Bruce told leading scorer not for sale.

Byline: By Andy Turner

COVENTRY CITY have rejected a pounds 2million bid for leading scorer Gary McSheffrey.

Birmingham City approached Sky Blue chiefs over the weekend but were issued with a firm 'hands off' warning over the 23-year-old forward who notched 17 goals last season.

Blues, who know all about McSheffrey's pedigree through assistant manager Eric Black, are believed to have offered pounds 1 million up front with another million to follow subject to appearances, while also making a pounds 4 million bid for Collins John from Fulham.

Steve Bruce has cash to spend after off-loading Emile Heskey to Wigan for pounds 5.5 million last week but Coventry appear determined to keep hold of their prized asset whom they see as pivotal to the club's bid for promotion themselves in the next three years.

"Gary McSheffrey is not for sale," said acting chairman Geoffrey Robinson today.

"He is central to our plans and a key element to 'Operation Premiership'.

McSheffrey has attracted interest from a number of clubs after netting so many goals from a largely wide left position, but manager Micky Adams knows that it doesn't matter how much money a club has at its disposal, players' of his calibre are hard to come by.

"We are trying to build something here," he said from the club's Utah training camp ahead of tonight's second pre-season match with Salt Lake City college team BYU Cougars.

"Every player may have their price but where are we going to get a goal-scoring left-sided winger from?"

As for the tour, Adams said the biggest benefit so far had been the club's seven new players getting to know their teammates.

"The new boys have all settled in quickly and bonded well," he added, "so I am very pleased with the way things are going."

Adams mixed and matched his team with several half time changes in the 1-1 draw with Portland Timbers on Saturday and plans to do the same tonight, while giving debuts to centre-back Elliott Ward and forward Wayne Andrews, and giving Don Hutchison his first run-out of the pre-season.

"We are playing on grass and looking to give a few more of the lads a game," he said.

"I am not sure what to expect in terms of quality but I am sure, like most of these University teams, the Cougars will be fit and organised, and provide a good workout."

CAPTION(S):

NOT FOR SALE ... McSheffrey' HEAD START ... Matt Heath takes part in a Sky Blues training session in the United States. Picture: David Plechl
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Jul 11, 2006
Words:426
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