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Hughes keen to keep Hart

However, Hughes has no intention of a player signed from Shrewsbury by current England Under-21 coach Stuart Pearce being allowed to leave Eastlands.

"We allowed Joe to go because we felt it was important that he played regular football," said Hughes.

"He was frustrated to lose his place when Shay came but we have huge regard for his ability.

"We felt it was important for him to continue to develop and improve.

"He wasn't going to do that outside the first-team here, so we decided the best course of action was to let him get some experience elsewhere.

"But our view on Joe has not changed.

"He is an outstanding 'keeper and we are pleased that he is a Manchester City player."

I'm not sure about this. Perhaps Hughes's comments were as a response to some of the weekend speculation suggesting Birmingham were keen to make his move permanent ahead of his loan deal ending in the summer.

The difficulty is that although Hughes may want to keep him - and Hart may wish to remain at the club, but the form of Shay Given so far since his arrival means Hart will not be able to dislodge him.

Yes he has time on side, but you'd imagine Given has between 3-5 years still at the top level left in him so does Hart becoming a travelling goalkeeper, loaned out season after season until Given is done? I doubt that would bode well for his development but if we do want to keep him at the club what other options are there?