Steve Bruce hopes Stuart Pearce will take permanent charge of Manchester City as he expressed fears that homegrown managerial talent was not being given its chance in the Barclays Premiership.

Birmingham City manager Bruce believes the growing trend of clubs looking abroad for coaches is denying English managers who have learnt their trade in the lower divisions the opportunity to make a mark in the top flight.

New Portsmouth boss Alain Perrin is the latest foreign manager to have been appointed and Bruce is concerned that people prepared to work their way through the ranks and collect their qualifications will be squeezed out.

Bruce, whose side visit Eastlands tonight, said: " Stuart Pearce has worked behind the scenes at Manchester City for years, done all the coaching stuff, got all the badges and I hope that he does get the job.

"I watched them against Charlton and they were excellent and should have won that game, and they played very well against Liverpool and had a great result. It will be tough for us.

"I hope he gets the job. These days you do have to have really big qualifications to work in the Premiership. You've got to work for something like five years before you are qualified with taking a B licence and an A licence.

"A lot of English or British managers are going down that route and working their socks off to get a job in the lower divisions. Unfortunately you don't see a lot of them being selected for the Premiership.

"The option is to look abroad and we've got to be very careful. We've got to open the door and give people a bit of an incentive if they take all the qualifications of ultimately doing what everyone wants to do and work in the Premiership."

Bruce added: "There are not many like Iain Dowie at Palace who has worked in the lower divisions and been given his chance further up.

"How often do you see it now? It seems to be getting rarer. I would think around 50 per cent of Premiership managers would be foreign."

Blues defender Mario Melchiot says that personal pride will not allow him to relax now that Premiership safety has been virtually secured.

He said: "I am playing for my own pride. All I am concerned about is giving 100 per cent to the people who come and watch me right until the last game of the season.

"I get frustrated when we are not winning games, especially against teams like Portsmouth on Saturday. But we are capable of beating any team on our day."