Birmingham aim to install McLeish within 48 hours

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The Independent Football

Jim Bett believes his former Scotland and Aberdeen team-mate Alex McLeish should steer clear of the Birmingham City job.

Birmingham are to make an official approach to the Scottish FA for permission to speak to Alex McLeish about succeeding Steve Bruce as manager.

City are optimistic that McLeish, the Scotland manager, could take over at St Andrew's within the next 48 hours and certainly before Sunday's Premier League match at Tottenham. City would have to pay around £1m in compensation to acquire McLeish, who saw Scotland fall at the final hurdle in their attempt to reach the Euro 2008 finals by losing at home to the world champions Italy.

Birmingham's efforts to land McLeish will gather momentum following his return from the 2010 World Cup draw in South Africa on Sunday. He appears to have moved ahead of Birmingham's current assistant manager Eric Black in the race to replace Bruce.

Black was in charge of Saturday's 2-0 home defeat by Portsmouth and held talks with the Blues board after the game when he was given no guarantee about whether he would be offered the job.

McLeish and Black were team-mates at Aberdeen, but it is likely the latter would join Bruce at Wigan rather than remain as second in command at St Andrew's. Instead, the former Aston Villa No 2 Roy Aitken would be expected to follow McLeish from the Scotland set-up to Birmingham.

Birmingham are also determined to find out once and for all whether prospective new owner Carson Yeung can raise the funds to buy out current chairman David Gold and co-owner David Sullivan. Yeung has until Friday to convince them he can come up with the £35m required for the takeover.