Brum step up the race for Crainey

Blackpool's Stephen Crainey applauds the fans at full time
Blackpool's Stephen Crainey applauds the fans at full time
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Stephen Crainey is being chased by Birmingham City.

The defender is one of seven out-of-contract Blackpool players who were offered a new deal at the end of last season.

So far only Barry Ferguson has agreed to extend his stay at Bloomfield Road and he is yet to put pen to paper.

Alex Baptiste is on the verge of a move to Bolton, Neal Eardley has joined Birmingham and Ludo Sylvestre informed Pool he would be leaving too. Manager Paul Ince is desperate to keep Crainey and talks are ongoing.

It’s understood negotiations have now stalled, with Pool unwilling to guarantee the 32-year-old more than a one-year deal.

Crainey is happy at Blackpool and settled in the area, but would clearly favour a longer contract at this stage of his career. Birmingham boss Lee Clark is a big fan of the left-back and is believed to have spoken to Crainey about a much longer deal.

On the contract situation, Pool manager Ince said: “I’ve been sitting since the season ended waiting for players to come back to me.

“We have to think that if these players haven’t come back to us by now they are looking to move on, so we have to move on. We can’t keep waiting all the time.”

Crainey arrived at Bloomfield Road on a free transfer from Leeds in the summer of 2007. He has virtually been an ever-present since, playing a huge part in the club’s rise to the Premier League.

Pool are also still waiting on answers from Gary Taylor-Fletcher and Kirk Broadfoot.

Striker Taylor-Fletcher is being tracked by a host of Championship clubs, including his former club Huddersfield.

It’s believed the 32-year-old is holding out for the best offer and has not yet ruled out a return to Bloomfield Road.

Defender Broadfoot, who finished runner-up in The Gazette’s player of the year poll, has been offered a contract at Ipswich Town Championship rivals.

- Tom Ince has returned home after England’s disappointing U21 European Championships exit. Pool are due to start pre-season training on Friday but Ince will be given extra time off.

The 21-year-old is expected to miss Pool’s trip to Portugal and join in training at the start of July.

- Richard Kyle and Ciaran Donnelly have replaced Alan Wright and John Hills in heading up the Pool youth set-up.

Kyle has been named head of coaching and former Pool player Donnelly academy manager after Wright moved on to become manager of Conference club Southport, with Hills as his no.2 .

Kyle has worked at Blackburn Rovers and more recently was Academy coach at Everton. He completed his UEFA A licence last year.

Donnelly was previously in charge of Pool’s centre of excellence. He has played for Fleetwood and AFC Blackpool since his two years with the Seasiders (2005-7).