Gary would relish extra competition from Taylor

Gary Doherty says he would welcome Martin Taylor back to Carrow Road with open arms - even though it would put his place in the heart of the City defence in danger.

By CHRIS LAKEY

Gary Doherty says he would welcome Martin Taylor back to Carrow Road with open arms - even though it would put his place in the heart of the City defence in danger.

Taylor has been at the centre of a bizarre tug-of-war with Birmingham following the end of a highly successful loan spell, with the Premier League club refusing to allow him stay on until the New Year or sanction a permanent deal.

Doherty came in for Taylor for the weekend trip to Colchester, but says he still believes City should try and sign the 28-year-old, nicknamed Tiny.


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“The club is obviously looking to bring in a centre half to get more competition for places,” said Doherty. “Obviously Tiny came in and did a fantastic job. I don't know if that deal is dead in the water or what the craic is, but helpfully we can reignite something there because we need him.”

Should Taylor return it would pile pressure on Doherty and Jason Shackell, but the Republic of Ireland international says he's ready for the fight.

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“You are a footballer, you are always going to have people coming in and it is just up to me,” he said. “I have got the shirt at the minute, I have played well under the gaffer for three games and it is onwards and upwards now, getting fitter and stronger.”

Doherty has the backing of manager Glenn Roeder - and one of his managerial rivals.

“He (Doherty) has played three games for me now, I think he has been outstanding overall,” said Roeder. “He is more than capable of being a good player in the Championship.

“Mick McCarthy said to me a few weeks ago, 'the Doc won't let you down', he knows him obviously from his days with Ireland, and Doc hasn't, he hasn't let anyone down, himself or the team, and with his experience he is an important player to play alongside Shacks.”

Doherty, who missed 10 games with a groin injury and then saw his return to duty interrupted by a one-match suspension, jumped at the opportunity to reclaim his place at the weekend, when he helped secure a point which could prove crucial come judgment day.

With time fast running out, Doherty popped up with a header that led to City's equaliser and kept the Canaries just above the drop zone in the congested lower reaches of the Championship.

“It was good,” said Doherty. “I have not played a lot of late - I was really happy with my performances at the start of the season, for the first 10 games. I thought I was playing well, then obviously the groin injury set me back and that was probably only my third game in 10 weeks.

“But I have been happy with my three performances since the gaffer has come in - Plymouth, Stoke and Colchester - and I just have to keep it going, keep my fitness up and hopefully the games will become easier for me.”

City's first game of the festive season is at fellow strugglers Scunthorpe on Saturday, and Doherty believes the pressure is on to get a win under their belts before big home games against Charlton and Wolves.

“This and Scunthorpe will prove to be two really big away games,” Doherty said. “We have put a bit more pressure on ourselves now to get three points at Scunthorpe because we didn't get the three points at Colchester.

“It was always going to be hard there, but there is no excusing our performance, we didn't play well at all. But we know if we can defend properly and get a point during a bad performance hopefully once we start putting in performances like we did against Sheffield United then we can start beating these teams.”

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