Birmingham boss Steve Bruce has confirmed the club have rejected an approach from Bolton for his services after the departure of Sammy Lee.
But the Blues have refused permission for the Trotters to discuss their vacant managerial post with the former Manchester United defender.
Paul Jewell is one of the favourites for the position, while Adrian Boothroyd and John Collins are other names in the frame.
But Bruce appears to be Bolton's first choice, although they have failed in their attempts to lure him away from St Andrews.
He told Sky Sports News: "My first reaction was that they've seen the type of job I've done and would like permission to speak to me.
"That hasn't been granted so I'll accept that."