Date: 5th January 2006 at 7:42pm
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Blues chairman David Gold is hopeful that Chris Sutton’s free transfer from Celtic doesn’t backfire on him with the loss of Walter ‘El Rifle’ Pandiani.

Despite a reported £1.5 million offer from Spanish side Espanyol, Gold still wants to keep hold of £3 million summer transfer Pandiani, who has netted twice this season.

Gold told Sky Sports News: ‘I’m hoping we can keep hold of Pandiani.

‘I think we need everybody as we speak. I don’t think we can afford to let anybody go during this very difficult period for Birmingham City.

‘I’m very, very, very hopeful of persuading Walter to stay at least until the end of the season.’

However, Gold has admitted the Uruguayan may find starts hard to come by:

‘At the moment the preferred pairing would be Sutton and Heskey, two huge strikers, particularly with our strength on the wings. I’d expect that to be quite awesome.’

Despite suggestions that a striker with pace is needed, Blues now have four strikers in Sutton, Emile Heskey, Mikael Forssell and Pandiani.

Steve Bruce has always maintained he wants to work with four strikers in the squad, and with the need for a pacy frontman to play off Heskey or Sutton still clear, do not be surprised to see the Rifle shoot off to Spain later this month.