O'Leary dismisses Sunderland link as Bruce weighs future

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The Independent Football

The Aston Villa manager, David O'Leary, has distanced himself from reports linking him with a move to Sunderland in the summer.

Niall Quinn, O'Leary's former Arsenal and Republic of Ireland team-mate, was reported to have targeted him if the consortium he heads succeeds in taking control of the Black Cats.

But O'Leary said: "I don't know where these reports have come from. Niall Quinn is a friend of mine but that doesn't mean anything. I actually haven't spoken to Niall since October. As far as I am concerned, I have got a big job to do at Aston Villa and I want to get down to that in the summer."

Steve Bruce, meanwhile, travels to the Essex mansion of Birmingham's joint-owner, David Sullivan, today to find out if he will continue as manager of the club following their relegation from the Premiership.

After Birmingham's 0-0 draw with Newcastle which condemned the St Andrew's club to dropping to the Championship, Bruce revealed that he wanted to continue in charge. But he added at the time: "That decision is in the hands of other people."

Bruce faces a meeting with the Birmingham board where the club's future will be discussed, including whether he will remain as the manager.

Bruce has the backing of the club's chairman, David, Gold, who said: "I would be surprised if Steve Bruce is not Birmingham's manager at the start of the season."