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Birmingham boss Hughton denies protecting Liverpool, Stoke target Dann

Birmingham City defender Chris Hughton denies leaving out Scott Dann for defeat to Derby County because of sale plans.

The centre half, who has been a summer transfer target for Liverpool, Everton and Stoke City, was on the substitutes' bench as Nigel Clough's side came from behind to heap further misery on Hughton's club.

Rumours persist that Dann will be on his way before the deadline and Hughton could have been forgiven for protecting one of the club's few remaining assets by ensuring he is fit to move.

However, Birmingham's boss said: "Any player who is contracted to Birmingham City is available to play, that includes Scott.

"I chose not to play him simply because he didn't play in our previous two games and Curtis Davies and Steve Caldwell had more rhythm than he does at the moment."

 It's the home stretch! 24/7 click for the best coverage of Stoke City's final transfer market moves

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