Nottingham Forest make fresh £500k bid for Birmingham winger Chris Burke
NOTTINGHAM Forest have upped the ante in their efforts to sign Chris Burke, by lodging a fresh £500,000 bid for the winger.
Championship rivals Birmingham had previously rejected the Reds' initial approach for the right-sided player.
But Burke could yet be a Forest player when the two sides meet at St Andrews on Saturday, after the club upped their bid for the 29-year-old.
It is likely to be a fiery occasion in the West Midlands, with Alex McLeish set to return to his former club for the first time.
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But the Forest manager will be hoping he is not the only former Blues man in the Forest ranks, after the club revived their efforts to sign his fellow Scotsman.
Burke is out of contract in the summer, when he could leave on a Bosman free transfer.
And Birmingham are understood to be keen to raise funds in the transfer market, as they look to address increasing financial problems.
So Forest will be hoping their improved bid is this time successful, as they look to add a much-needed wide man to their ranks at the City Ground.
Burke has plenty of experience in the Championship, both with Cardiff and Birmingham – with McLeish taking him to St Andrews shortly before leaving to take charge at Aston Villa.
But Burke did play under McLeish during his time in charge at Glasgow Rangers and he will be aware of the qualities he can bring to the Forest squad.
With Forest having already signed West Brom defender Gonzalo Jara on loan for the rest of the season, with a view to a permanent move, adding Burke would give McLeish's side an injection of quality down the right side.
Skipper Danny Collins has been impressed by the impact made by Chile international Jara in the games he has played so far.
"He is a quiet lad, he just goes about his business. But he is not afraid to put a foot in," said Collins.
"He looks like he is comfortable on the ball, he can pop it around and he has settled in well.
"I did not know too much about him, before he came here.
"But in training, he can tackle and he also likes to get forward and get involved.
"On top of that, we have Daniel Ayala coming back from injury, so there is a competition for places there at the back now, which is a good thing."
Paul Taylor's column: The Post's Forest reporter on the importance of bringing in Burke to the squad – see Pages 38-39