BIRMINGHAM City are ready to offer George McCartney an escape route from Sunderland, with the defender surplus to requirements at the Stadium of Light.
New Blues boss and ex-Newcastle United manager Chris Hughton has made an enquiry about the left-back, who has not featured for the Black Cats since February, 2010, and spent the bulk of last season on loan at Leeds United.
McCartney returned to pre-season training with the rest of the Sunderland squad this week and is one of four players the club are ready to listen to offers to.
Nyron Nosworthy, Matt Kilgallon and Marcos Angeleri are also available as Sunderland look to cut their wage bill after the arrival of nine summer signings.
Sunderland boss Steve Bruce said: “We have had an enquiry about George.
“All the players who were out on loan last season – George, Nyron and Matt – need to go out somewhere where they will play games.”
Former Sunderland boss Roy Keane re-signed McCartney from West Ham United in 2008 and handed the ex-Northern Ireland international a lucrative deal which still has two years left to run.
But McCartney has never rediscovered the form he enjoyed in his first spell on Wearside after coming through the ranks at the Stadium of Light and Sunderland are keen to cut their losses.
Sunderland would require a minimal fee, if at all, for McCartney – making him an attractive proposition for Hughton following Birmingham’s relegation from the top flight last season.
Meanwhile, Bruce insists he is baffled by reports continually linking Sunderland record signing Asamoah Gyan with a move away from the Stadium of Light.
Speculation has been rife throughout the summer concerning Gyan’s future with Spurs, Real Madrid and the Ghanaian’s former club Udinese all mentioned as possible suitors for the 25-year-old.
But Sunderland have not received a single bid for Gyan, who is due back on Wearside next week after being given extra time off following his exertions for his country during the summer.
Bruce said: “We need to put a stop to all the talk.
“I haven’t had any telephone conversation with any agent, I have had no offer from another club.
“As far as I am concerned, he is going nowhere – unless, of course, we get a wonder bid from somewhere which we can’t refuse.
“But I am looking forward to seeing Gyan report back for pre-season training next week and being even better this season in the Premier League than he was the last.
“I think he will be better because he knows what to expect now. I am expecting big things from him.”