Baird braced for move?

Last updated : 26 July 2004 By Christian Kelly

Baird has only made eight appearances for Saints since emerging form the youth set up back at the start of 2001.He made a considerable impact when he was in the starting eleven in the FA Cup final against Arsenal. Despite a hugely impressive performance, Baird soon drifted out of contention and has had a couple of loan spells at Watford and Walsall.

The Northern Ireland international recently signed a new two year deal, hoping to force his way into contention under Paul Sturrock. However, he was left behind as the squad travelled for a pre season tour of Sweden. Obviously Baird was disappointed at this and his omission from the touring party will have alerted a number of interested clubs. Baird had been linked to West Brom and Norwich before he signed a new deal.

Joe Royle has said: "It is not Baird, Huth, Johnson or Clichy - but beyond that I am not prepared to say very much. We have made no approach for Baird and as for players like Huth, Johnson and Clichy, they are all going to be registered for the Champions League and would be out of our reach."

Despite this, there should be plenty of interest in Baird whose agent was surprised that his client was left behind. Gary Williams told the Daily Echo: Williams added: "Last season I was getting promising pre-season reports about Chris and then Gordon Strachan left him out.

"Now I'm hearing the same promising pre-season reports, and he's been left out again.

"It does seem surprising to me."

Although an obvious replacement for Jason Dodd, Saints brought in Darren Kenton. Baird is also a natural replacement for Paul Telfer, yet the club have only just bought Mikael Nilsson. if he wants to further his career, and have regular first team football, Baird is going to have to leave the Saints behind.