DARLINGTON have strongly denied rumours that central defender Craig Liddle is set to sign for Birmingham City today.

The former Middlesbrough defender has been linked with a £500,000 move to the First Division club, but Quakers have moved quickly to confirm that he is stopping at Feethams in their battle against relegation, and not joining Trevor Francis' promotion quest.

Manager Gary Bennett said: "Nobody has been in touch with me or the club about Craig.

"It's understandable that clubs have been interested in him, but we're not going to let him go.

"He is a big part of our team for the rest of the season and the future."

Liddle, who has been one of the few successes for the Quakers this season, has been the subject of interest from several clubs, but it would be a major blow if he was to leave for any reason before next Thursday's transfer deadline.

Meanwhile, new signing Olivier Bernard might miss tomorrow's away game at Kidderminster.

"He picked up a knock early in the game against York on Tuesday night, and he had to limp through the game," said Bennett.

"Somebody must have run over a black cat, because of all the injuries we have. Martin Gray, Brian Atkinson, Paul Heckingbottom, Andy Collett and Gary Himsworth are all out injured, and you would expect them to be playing."

One piece of good news for Bennett is that defender Adam Reed has suffered no reaction to his ankle injury in training this week, and will probably travel to Worcestershire. Reed has been out since the win over Cheltenham three weeks ago.

There is still the possibility of one new signing before deadline day. Bennett said: "We're working on one or two things at the moment, but it's unlikely we'll get somebody in before the weekend."

* York City have signed former Burnley captain Chris Brass on a free transfer. The 25-year-old defender, who joined Burnley as a trainee and has spent his whole career with the Clarets at Turf Moor, is expected to make his debut against Lincoln on Saturday.

* Hull manager Brian Little has been given some money to dip into the transfer market for the first time this season. Little has acted quickly to bring in Oldham defender Andy Holt on loan until the end of the campaign and he is expected to play some part in the game against Exeter on Saturday