Date: 30th January 2006 at 7:05pm
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Blues have swooped to sign Czech Republic U-21 international centre-back Martin Latka on loan until the end of the season.

The deal, which has the option of becoming permanent in the summer, comes after fellow stoppers Kenny Cunningham and Martin Taylor picked up injuries which look set to rule them out for a few weeks.

The 6’4′ 21-year-old has signed on loan from Slavia Prague, where he has been a regular this season – playing thirteen games and scoring two goals.

Latka was also a target for Middlesbrough, who he trialled with last week, but Blues moved in to sign him to cover the defensive injury crisis.

He is set to make his debut for Blues in Wednesday’s match with Liverpool, provided he gains international clearance in time.

Steve Bruce told the official website:

‘Martin will be a marvellous acquisition for the club and he has got a very good chance of playing in the first XI – that is the reason that we’ve brought him here.

‘He will probably make his debut on Wednesday at Liverpool but we’ll obviously have to see how he is in training tomorrow.

‘It is very difficult for someone to come into a new club and play 48 hours later against Liverpool.

‘But we’ll see what the situation is with the injuries and we’ll take it from there.’