Hibs star reveals surprise Birmingham City link ahead of Aston Villa clash, Man Utd star set for Ipswich Town

The latest Birmingham City news and transfer speculation from around the Championship.

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Hibernian star Joe Newell has extra motivation to beat Aston Villa in Wednesday night’s Europa Conference League tie - after revealing his was a boyhood Birmingham City fan.

The 30-year-old midfielder was born in Birmingham and was part of the Blues academy before going on to play for the likes of Peterborough United and Rotherham United before making the move to Easter Road in the summer of 2019.

During his time in Edinburgh, Newell made just under 150 appearances for Hibs and was part of the squad that secured a fifth place finish in last season’s Scottish Premiership and subsequently qualified for the Europa Conference League. After seeing off Andorran club Atletic Club d’Escaldes and Swiss side FC Luzern, Newell and his Hibs team-mates will take on Villa in a two-legged play-off tie with the winners progressing into the group stage of the competition.

Speaking ahead of Wednesday night’s first leg at Easter Road, he said: “There’s one dodgy picture of me in a Villa top when I was four but I’m a Blues fan, always have been,” he said ahead of Wednesday’s qualifying play-off first leg at Easter Road. “There’s a lot more Villa where I’m from. My fiancée is Villa, my dad’s Blues, his brother is Villa. My best mate is diehard Villa.

“Listen, I’d love to beat them, don’t get me wrong. But whether it was Sunday at home to Raith in the cup or Villa at home on Wednesday, you go into each game trying to win. I won’t let that (being a Birmingham fan) get into my thinking too much.”

Manchester United defender ‘closing’ on Ipswich Town move

Ipswich Town are set to see off competition from a number of Championship rivals to secure a loan deal for Manchester United defender Brandon Williams.

The former Norwich City loan star has been the subject of interest from a several second tier clubs including Leeds United but is now close to agreeing a move to Portman Road.

Journalist Fabrizio Romano said: “Negotiations between Ipswich Town and Manchester United for Brandon Williams are advancing. Loan deal to include buy option clause. Williams, in the list of players expected to leave Man United by the end of the window.”

German giants battle over Saints star

Southampton defender Armel Bella-Kotchap is the subject of interest from Bundesliga rivals Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.

The two-times capped Germany international joined the Saints from Bochum last summer and made 26 appearances as the South Coast club fought an unsuccessful battle against relegation from the Premier League. Linked with several clubs since the end of last season, Bella-Kotchap is now attracting interest from two of the Bundesliga’s biggest clubs according to Sky Germany journalist Florian Plettenberg.

He tweeted: “Armel Bella-Kotchap is on the list of FC Bayern! Bosses have inquired about the 21 y/o German national as he’s a versatile defender. Internal discussions took place.

“ABK has not yet a total verbal agreement with #BVB; Dortmund is considering a loan move.”