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Friday, 13 September, 2002, 15:02 GMT 16:02 UK
Bowen denies Bruce rift
Mark Bowen with Birmingham City manager Steve Bruce
Mark Bowen (left) is very much in demand
Mark Bowen has insisted that his working relationship with Birmingham City manager Steve Bruce has not been soured.

Bowen has been involved in a club versus country wrangle over recent weeks after the club insisted he must scale down his involvement with Wales.

Bruce wants Bowen to concentrate fully on his coaching duties with Birmingham.

But Bowen, who has been working as Mark Hughes' number two with Wales for the past two years, is eager to build on the team's recent success.


Birmingham City has to be the priority over everything and I understand that
Mark Bowen
Hughes had hoped to find some middle ground with Bruce, but that seemed to have been dashed this week when the Blues manager said there could be no compromise.

Although disappointed with the situation, Bowen says he understands the position and insists there is no rift between himself and Bruce.

Bowen said: "Steve Bruce is one of my best friends in football and we have always had a good relationship.

"There is no fall-out with him about the Wales issue, not one cross word has been exchanged between the two of us.

"The situation with Wales is that naturally I am disappointed because I have been doing the job with them for the past two years.

"But Birmingham City has to be the priority over everything and I understand that."

No quitter

Bowen added that he was still very much part of the Wales set-up under Hughes.

He remains hopeful that Birmingham will agree to release him for certain matches in Wales' Euro 2004 qualifying campaign.

"I haven't quit with Wales as I have seen suggested in some headlines," Bowen added.

"I've never quit on anything but it is a fact that Birmingham have said they need me with them full-time in the Premier League at this juncture.

"But as things stand I have to concentrate 100% on club matters and there is not an issue with Steve Bruce or anyone at the club about that."

Wales' second Group Nine qualifier on 16 October against Italy is already a sell-out at the Millennium Stadium.

Understandably, Bowen wants to be part of the Welsh football high, following their 2-0 victory in Finland in their opening qualifying game last week.


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11 Sep 02 | Wales
27 Aug 02 | Football
25 Aug 02 | Football
29 Aug 02 | Football
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