Taylor secures permanent deal at Birmingham

Maik Taylor has spelt out his delight at tying up a permanent move to Birmingham City and insisted: "I always had faith in my ability to play at the top level." Taylor is experiencing his first full season of Premiership football and he has now completed a £1.5m move from Fulham after being on loan all season.

Maik Taylor has spelt out his delight at tying up a permanent move to Birmingham City and insisted: "I always had faith in my ability to play at the top level." Taylor is experiencing his first full season of Premiership football and he has now completed a £1.5m move from Fulham after being on loan all season.

The former Southampton player has signed a deal which will keep him at St Andrews until 2008. Taylor has played a significant part in establishing the Blues as a side who are still in with a chance of qualifying for Europe. Taylor moved away from Fulham despite being in the first team for the second half of last season when it became apparent that Edwin van der Sar would be first choice again on his return from injury.

The Northern Ireland No 1 said: "I'm very happy to stay full-time and it was never ever going to be any big deal in terms of agreeing personal teams. My family moved up to the area as soon as I joined Birmingham and it was going to go through just as long as we stayed up as the clubs had agreed a fee.

"I am enjoying it here. It is my first full season in the top flight and it has got to make you sharper playing week-in and week-out. Fulham went down the road of signing van der Sar which restricted my options there - although I was in the team for the second half of last season. But I always had faith in my ability to be able to play at the top level and it was great to come to a place where you feel wanted and part of things."

Mikael Forssell has hinted that he will look to leave Chelsea in the summer if he is not guaranteed regular first-team football - and that, too, could mean a move to St Andrews.

Forssell is currently on a season-long loan with Birmingham and his double at Middlesbrough on Saturday took his tally for the season to 16 goals. He would love to play a significant role at Stamford Bridge and he signed a new four-year contract in August. But the Finland international would not be content to revert to his former bit-part role with the Blues in 2004-05.

He said: "There's still three years left of my contract and I know that Claudio Ranieri likes me as a player. But I have always said that I don't want to go back to Chelsea just to sit on the bench. If Chelsea decide they are ready to play me, then that is a different ball game."

The Birmingham manager, Steve Bruce, said: "On Saturday Mikael was a million miles above everybody else. He's a top player and we know that we have got to keep him. I am sure every Birmingham fan and all the people at the club know that as well and we'll do our utmost to keep him but he is Chelsea's player."

Meanwhile, the Bolton captain Jay-Jay Okocha has put contract talks on hold until the end of the season. He said: "I have decided to leave everything until the end of the season. I am still a Bolton player and I just have to focus on the remaining games and give my all. Then we will see what will happen."

The West Bromwich Albion midfielder Mark Kinsella has been recalled to the 22-man Republic of Ireland squad for the friendly against the Czech Republic at Lansdowne Road on 31 March. The Republic of Ireland manager, Brian Kerr, left Kinsella out of his last two squads for the games against Canada and Brazil because the 31-year-old was not enjoying first-team football at the time with Aston Villa. But a move to West Brom has had the desired effect.

Back after injury comes Hibernian goalkeeper Nicky Colgan at the expense of West Brom's Joe Murphy. Leeds United midfielder Stephen McPhail is also recalled.

Ireland squad, Digest, page 50

News
people
News
John Rees-Evans is standing for Ukip in Cardiff South and Penarth
news
Arts and Entertainment
Bianca Miller and Katie Bulmer-Cooke are scrutinised by Lord Sugar's aide Nick Hewer on The Apprentice final
tvBut Bianca Miller has taken on board his comments over pricing
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
News
in picturesWounded and mangy husky puppy rescued from dump
Sport
David Silva, Andy Carroll, Arsene Wenger and Radamel Falcao
football
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'