BIRMINGHAM City manager Alex McLeish has given the clearest indication yet that he hopes to extend the loan stay of Bolton Wanderers defender Nicky Hunt.

Hunt has enjoyed a successful spell at St Andrew’s since agreeing a one-month loan move at the start of November.

The right-back, who had to come off in Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Coca-Cola Championship promotion rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers due to a hamstring injury, has one more game left of his current deal.

When asked whether he is looking to tie Hunt down for a longer period of time, McLeish said: “We’ll have to look at that because Stephen Kelly is still a wee bit away from fitness but Stuart Parnaby is 100 per cent fit again.

“We have to be thinking about keeping Nicky around. He looked

great (against Wolves), he brought his Premiership experience to the team and he was a threat going forward and it was such a shame to lose him.”

Hunt’s departure from the game on Saturday prompted McLeish to once again called for a change in the ruling on substitutes.

Hunt came off on the stroke of half-time and McLeish was forced to bring on Mehdi Nafti as a makeshift right-back, a weakness Wolves exploited.

The manager simply didn’t have room on his bench for the fit-again Parnaby.

McLeish has regularly expressed his dismay the Premier League are allowed seven subs while Championship sides are only able to name five. And once again McLeish has called for a change in the rules by suggesting clubs outside the top flight should be allowed to name a maximum of seven on the bench.

“I know there’s a question of finances and whether you have to pay another couple of bonuses – some may find that difficult,’’ he said. “But I think with demands on the players then seven subs should be across the board. It’s all over Europe so why not here?

“I’ve had a dig about this before as the intensity of the Championship probably makes it the hardest in the world. If clubs are worried about paying extra bonuses they should think of the players they lose for three or four months to injuries.”