Captain Kenny suffers Blues axe
By Tom Adams
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Birmingham City have decided to release club captain Kenny Cunningham.
Birmingham City have decided to release club captain Kenny Cunningham as they prepare for life in The Championship.
Blues boss Steve Bruce has already wielded the axe after relegation, and now the reliable stopper has joined Stan Lazaridis, Jamie Clapham, Nico Vaesen, Chris Sutton and Mario Melchiot in being told his contract will not be extended.
Doubts had surrounded Cunningham's future but Bruce indicated he would be entering into talks with the Republic of Ireland international before taking a decision - and he has now opted to dispose of his services.
Cunningham will now be looking for a new club as Birmingham readjust for the demands of The Championship, and Bruce voiced his regret at having to disappoint his skipper.
"It's always hard when you have to say goodbye to such great servants but, unfortunately, tough decisions have to be made when you find yourselves in the situation we are in," said Bruce.
However, one player to be retained by Birmingham is young defender Marcos Painter after the 19-year-old agreed on the terms of a new three-year deal.
The Republic of Ireland Under-21 star will sign the contract upon his return from international duty, and Painter expressed his delight at extending his stay at St Andrews.
"I always wanted to stay at Blues," Painter told the Birmingham Post.
"The contract negotiations were dragging on but I didn't really want to go anywhere else.
"Now I can concentrate on getting us back to The Premiership."
Another player who could be set to lead Blues' promotion charge next season is Cardiff hot-shot Cameron Jerome.
The young striker has been linked with a £3 million switch to St Andrews after enjoying a successful season with The Bluebirds, although Cardiff will be determined to keep hold of their star striker.