Date: 20th March 2017 at 2:03pm
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He said he always wanted to return to St. Andrews to play for his boyhood club once again. He claims that no other club, realistically, would have pulled him away from the relative comfort of The Hawthorns where he had been plying his trade in a West Bromwich Albion shirt.

In January, Craig Gardner was granted the return he craved. If he feels like he has unfinished business in B9, sealing a permanent move this coming summer could right that wrong. If, as expected, Gardner’s proposed £1.3m move from The Baggies to Blues gets over the line, the Brummie could be handed the captain’s armband for the 2017/18 season.

It would represent a massive leap of faith from Gianfranco Zola. The Italian has clearly been impressed with Gardner since his return two months ago, so much so he is willing to hand him the keys to the dressing room.

Michael Morrison is the current first team captain, but injury has sidelined him for a sustained period. And club captain Paul Robinson is likely to take a step back either as a coach or a bit-part player next campaign.

Morrison has been an admirable leader for Birmigham City since his transfer from Charlton Athletic in 2014. However, his impact has flattened somewhat with the contrasting style of play before his injury ruled him out.

Gardner taking the reigns makes sense in every way. Being one of the club’s top earners with bags full of top flight experience, a hero in the fans eyes and a Bluenose to boot, who better is there to lead the team out on a Saturday?

Of course, this is assuming Zola remains in the St. Andrews dugout come May. A new manager may have other ideas. But surely Gardner’s future at Blues is a given.

 
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