Bruce's firm stance aims to avoid break-up

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The Independent Football

The manager of Wigan, Steve Bruce, remains determined to keep his squad together as they aim for a top-10 place in the Premier League. There has been much speculation about the future of Emile Heskey, who is out of contract in the summer, after their chairman, Dave Whelan, intimated the club may be tempted to cash in on the England striker in January's transfer window. However, before the weekend, Bruce said he would only consider a "mind-blowing offer" of £8m-plus for Heskey, who is 31 next month.

The Egypt striker Amr Zaki, who is on loan, has also attracted a lot of interest after eight League goals this season. But Bruce yesterday stressed he had no intention of breaking up a squad that has lifted the Latics to 11th in the table.

"We're going all right at the moment. The good thing for me is that we're 10 points better off than we were this time last year," said Bruce, whose side were embroiled in a relegation scrap for most of last season. "I have the makings of a really good team. The hardest part is holding on to them all, that could be a real challenge. Let's see what January brings, but I'm under no pressure to cash in on anybody, the chairman has made that clear. The last thing I want to do is dismantle what we have put together."