"When you have someone of Eric's calibre, it is inevitable that he is going to attract interest from elsewhere," said Bruce, "it's not a problem, if anything, it's a compliment."
Bruce revealed that permission was not given because he, Black, and the rest of the management team are at the start of a major project at the JJB Stadium, and that there is still "a hell of a lot of work to be done."
"We are at the beginning of a long journey," Bruce told fans, "and we all want to see it through. The potential at this club is immense. The club has come such a long way in a short space of time, and our job now is to consolidate our position in the Premier League. That job will be made a lot easier with people like Eric on board."