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

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Diego Costa, Ross Barkley, Arsene Wenger, Brendan Rodgers, Alan Pardew and Christian Eriksen
footballRodgers is right to be looking over his shoulder, while something must be done about diving
News
The illusionist believes hypnotism helped him to deal with the lack of control he felt growing up
people'It’s not that people react badly to it – they really don't care'
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
gaming
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

In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible