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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 February, 2005, 09:13 GMT
Bruce willing to support Pennant
Bruce wants to help Pennant through his problems
Birmingham manager Steve Bruce insists he is happy to appear as a character witness for on-loan Jermaine Pennant when he appears in court on 1 March.

The midfielder - on loan from Arsenal - has admitted drink-driving and driving while disqualified and uninsured after crashing a Mercedes-Benz in January.

He will appear for sentence and Bruce would be a character witness, if asked.

Bruce said: "He appreciates that in his darkest hour we've stood by our decision to take him on loan."

Bruce added: "Maybe a lot of others wouldn't have done that with the court case hanging over him. We've said to the kid that we will try to help him through it.

Jermaine Pennant
Pennant faces a court appearance

"That's reassured him a bit. The main thing is to help him because he obviously needs a bit of help.

"We want to help him in the education thing and get him out of the environment he's in and provide a clean break."

Bruce is aware he is winning a reputation for a willingness to take on so-called "problem" players.

But he said: "You get a reputation for rescuing players but the one thing in common with the likes of Jermaine, Christophe Dugarry and Walter Pandiani is that they all have unbelieveable ability.

"Pandiani came here at 5pm and couldn't speak a word of English and didn't know where to go at set-pieces.

"But I tell you what, he's a player and so you can get over those hurdles because he's a talent.

"Man-management is now possibly the biggest test, with the players enjoying the iconic staus they do now.

"You have to gain players' respect so they know where the boundaries are."

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