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Halilovic explains Reading move as Jutkiewicz opens up about Deeney

Welcome to BirminghamLive’s coverage of all things Birmingham City on this transfer deadline day. Let’s start with Juke

My vote

Lukas Jutkiewicz has welcomed the prospect of being joined at Birmingham City by Troy Deeney.

The Watford captain – and boyhood Blues fan – is of interest to his hometown club as they look to strengthen their squad before Tuesday’s transfer window closes.

Speaking immediately after he opened his account for the season in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Barnsley, Jutkiewicz praised Deeney and the fact he has had to overcome hurdles in his career.

Jutkiewicz insisted he had no knowledge if his fellow striker is indeed Blues-bound – but has no doubts about what he would bring if he does come to St Andrew’s.

“He is an excellent player,” Jutkiewicz said. “(He) has had a tremendous career, scored goals at the top level – an excellent player – and a player with a resilient character, which I think is important in this league.

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“Someone who has had setbacks in his career and has gone on to reach the highest levels.

Reading between the lines

Scott Dann is close to joining Reading following his release from Crystal Palace.

The veteran centre-half is a free agent and has been linked with former club Birmingham City in this transfer window.

However, he now looks set to move to Blues’ Championship rivals who are in much need of defensive help having conceded 13 goals in their first five league games to sit in 21st position.

The Sun on Sunday linked Dann with Blues in early August and the connection appealed on a romantic level given he had been part of the team reached the Carling Cup final.

However, he tore a hamstring against West Ham in the semi-final – which ended up being the last of his 60 matches for the club. Dann was not involved in the historic 2-1 win over Arsenal and was sold to Blackburn following relegation.

He went on to spend more than seven years at Selhurst Park only leaving this summer after more than 170 games and 155 Premier League starts.

Alen opens up

Alen Halilovic has spoken for the first time about his decision to return to the Championship.

The Croatian signed for Reading at the end of last week – and came off the bench in Saturday’s 4-0 loss to Huddersfield.

He did so after a summer of speculation over his future following his departure from Birmingham City.

Halilovic made a good enough impression during his short-term contract with Blues last season to earn an offer of a longer-term deal.

Blues boss Lee Bowyer insisted it had been “a good offer, I think a fair offer” but the former Barcelona man didn’t return to St Andrew’s.

Instead he went to his homeland to consider his options – before picking the Royals after negotiating with Veljko Paunović “for a few weeks”.

Speaking after signing Halilovic told the club website : “I played for six months last season at Birmingham – I enjoyed it there and especially I liked the league.

“Last season was a bit different without the fans, so I want to come back this year and feel everything – and to try to show everything that I can.”

Good – but could do better

Lee Bowyer believes Birmingham City have made a good start to the Championship campaign – but insists it could be better.

Blues reached the first international break with a 1-1 draw at Barnsley last Saturday, a result that means they have won two, drawn two and lost just one of their opening five games.

They have a positive goal difference and sit eighth, just one point outside the top six despite a testing set of fixtures, two against last season’s playoff teams and one away to a relegated Premier League club.

The victory at Luton was their biggest in nearly seven years, while the contrast between their display at Oakwell at the weekend and the one they turned at the same venue just 16 games ago, was start.

All of which means Bowyer is pleased – but not content with what has happened so far.

“Am I happy? Yes, it could be better, my job is to push them and push them and see how far we can get. Again I will come back to it.

“It shows how far we have come in a short space of time to be disappointed with eight points with the games we have played – the last two away from home against two good teams.

“The previous three before that against teams expected to be in the top six – we are moving in the right direction.”

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