Anthony Gerrard may be candidate for Bristol City boss Derek McInnes
Bristol City boss Derek McInnes will consider making a move for Cardiff defender Anthony Gerrard – but only if he misses out on main target Richard Keogh.
Coventry skipper and centre-back Keogh tops the City manager's wanted list and McInnes is prepared to play a waiting game if it means bringing the former Robins defender back to Ashton Gate four years after he left to join Carlisle United.
But Coventry have already turned down City's opening bid of around £250,000 and, although the Championship club is preparing to go back in with an improved offer later this month, McInnes is making contingency plans lest he miss out on Keogh, who still has a year to run on his contract at The Ricoh Arena.
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And Cardiff centre-half Gerrard, 26, features on a list of potential targets that will come into play in the event that Keogh either opts to stay with Coventry or decides to move elsewhere.
City face competition from Championship rivals Cardiff for the signature of the former Republic of Ireland Under-21 international, who is stalling on signing a new contract for the Sky Blues.
Bluebirds boss Malky Mackay has also had an undisclosed bid for Keogh turned down..
No longer an automatic first team selection after losing his place in Cardiff's Championship team last season, Gerrard could be made available for transfer with any proceeds being used to further test Coventry's resolve.
While Cardiff would happily sell Gerrard to their Severnside rivals if they could first land Keogh, McInnes is prepared to bide his time in the hope that a deal for the Irishman can be completed before the transfer window slams shut at the end of August.
A member of the Cardiff side that lost last season's Carling Cup final to Liverpool in a penalty shoot-out, the 6ft 2in Gerrard is an imposing defender, strong in the air and capable of playing as a right or left-sided centre-back.
But Keogh can also operate at right-back, a position he frequently filled during his time as a City player, and he remains McInnes's preferred choice.
City's manager will continue to hold off while Coventry officials try and persuade their captain to sign a new deal, but it is understood Keogh is keen to play in the Championship and is seeking a move away from the Ricoh Arena following the Midland club's relegation at the end of last season.
His wife is a Bristolian, he still has a lot of friends in the area and would privately welcome the chance to move back to the city.
Although Coventry boss Andy Thorn would rather keep Keogh, finance is a concern and a bid in the region of £600,000 will probably be sufficient to tempt the Midlands club.
Should City ultimately lose out to Cardiff in the race for Keogh, only then will McInnes begin to work through his list of alternative centre-backs.
Gerrard certainly fits City's requirement for a first ball winning central defender with extensive Championship experience.
The cousin of England captain Steven Gerrard, the big centre-back was born in Liverpool and launched his career with Everton. He subsequently moved to Walsall where he made 155 appearances between 2005-09 before joining Cardiff.