Lee Clark got his wish when Stephen Carr signed on again at Birmingham City.

Clark made a new contract for the captain a priority after taking over the St Andrew’s hot seat.

Not only does Clark want quality in the Blues team, but inspiring characters and leaders.

And Carr, who agreed another year’s deal, fits that bill.

Although he turns 36 at the end of August, the pugnacious Irishman still has what it takes, the manager feels.

Carr is certain he can play on for a couple more years yet.

Last season he missed over half of Blues Championship fixtures because of a niggling knee injury.

Prior to that his availability record had been impressive – he appeared in 73 of Blues 76 Premier League matches.

And the Carling Cup winning skipper thinks Clark is the right man for the job following Chris Hughton’s exit.

Former favourite Geoff Horsfield reckons much the same.

Horsfield was a team-mate of the new boss at Fulham.

And Horsfield said you could tell the moment Clark got on board at Craven Cottage that he was destined to go into management or coaching.

“He was a quality footballer and one of the fittest, if not the fittest, team-mate I have played with,” said Horsfield.

“He knew the position in midfield, he played with energy and he could pass a ball.

“As soon as he was in that changing room you knew he had something a bit different about him.

“He wasn’t loud or anything like that, but he was a leader and he knew what he wanted to do and he made demands of other players.

“You could tell management or coaching was something he would end up doing, he had that skill.

“The thing was he also had time to help and advise. He was a great asset to have.”

The transfer embargo has not helped Clark boost his squad, but there was good news finally last night when the Football League lifted the punishing measure.

Blues had not been able to register new players without League approval.

But they could sell and give contracts to current members of the squad and those whose deals have recently expired, like Carr.

The club made representations to the League and argued that they were able to continue as a going concern.

Monies brought in from the sales of Ben Foster, Jordon Mutch, plus compensation for Hughton and his staff, have helped cashflow.

And Blues have been able to meet staff wages for the past year, nor have they flirted with administration.

But the League needed to be satisfied that Blues accounts were in order – which they were in regards to the plc, despite auditor’s concerns – and they wanted more information.

Blues provided them with future financial projections but it was a surprise that the League didn’t demand that figures for parent company Birmingham International Holdings Limited were released to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Those accounts, for the year to June 2011, have been delayed three times.

So Clark’s hands became untied and he has admitted that he has targets and has been talking to players and agents.

“You’ve got to take your hat off to Chris Hughton, he did a great job,” added Horsfield.

“I felt there were just too many games for Blues in the end, it left them a bit short when it mattered in the play-offs.

“It’s up to Lee to build on those foundations and carry Blues forward.

“With no money to spend it’s going to be very tough. He’s going to have to wheel and deal.

“But he’s done his apprenticeship at Huddersfield, he’s got good staff around him in Terry McDermott and Derek Fazackerley and he won’t shirk the challenge.”