Bruce sets Bellamy morning ultimatum

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Steve Bruce last night set a deadline of this morning for the Newcastle striker Craig Bellamy to decide whether he wanted to sign for Birmingham City, after the manager revealed that he had met the Welshman for lunch on Saturday in a bid to persuade him to move to St Andrew's.

Steve Bruce last night set a deadline of this morning for the Newcastle striker Craig Bellamy to decide whether he wanted to sign for Birmingham City, after the manager revealed that he had met the Welshman for lunch on Saturday in a bid to persuade him to move to St Andrew's.

A fee of around £6m has been agreed by the two clubs, but Bruce warned that unless Bellamy made up his mind by 9am today it could be too late to agree personal terms and pass a medical in time before the transfer window closes this evening. Bellamy, however, has hinted that he may stay at Newcastle and try to outlast the manager, Graeme Souness.

Bruce said: "We've agreed a fee and I have spoken to the boy and tried to sell him the benefits of our club. I reassured him that the club had great ambition. Of course whenever you leave a club like Newcastle you have to be sure about where you go.

"He's a fantastic centre- forward, he's British and he's 25 - that's why I am paying £6m for him. I have no qualms about his ability. Yes, he is fiery but all I am hoping is that he gives me the nod and then let me worry about the rest."

However, Bellamy said he still had the desire to play for Newcastle. "If I do leave I would love to go back to Newcastle when Souness goes," he said. "I would pay my own expenses - that is how much the club means to me. But I still do not know if I will be leaving.

"No one from the club told me about Birmingham's interest and the first I found out about it was from Sky. If things do not work out with that move then I will stay at Newcastle."

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