No divided loyalites for Taylor

Jonathan Redhead His children may still wear their Norwich City shirts, but there will be no divided loyalties for Birmingham City's Martin Taylor in today's crucial Championship encounter.

Jonathan Redhead

His children may still wear their Norwich City shirts, but there will be no divided loyalties for Birmingham City's Martin Taylor in today's crucial Championship encounter.

The giant defender came close to joining Norwich nearly 15 months ago after a successful eight-game loan spell which resurrected his career and helped rebuild the Canaries' season under then boss Glenn Roeder.

He was so happy at Carrow Road he even bought his children City replica shirts as he prepared for a life in Norfolk.

But plans for another loan spell and then a permanent move from Birmingham were scuppered in January 2008 and the former Blackburn Rovers man re-established himself at St Andrew's under boss Alex McLeish.

Now the 6ft 4in 29-year-old is hoping for promotion back to the Premier League with the Blues and looking for three points at home to Norwich - which could plunge the visitors deeper into the relegation mire.

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However, Taylor insists there is no space for sentiment, even if his children still have fond memories of their time in Norfolk and pull their Norwich shirts out of the cupboard from time to time.

“My lads love their football and love having their football shirts and from moving around a lot they don't tend to have a favourite time like I did growing up in Newcastle,” he said.

“I had to be a Newcastle fan, but they just like having football shirts and love having their Norwich shirts. My eldest lad gets it out quite a lot.”

And the Geordie, who played for Birmingham in the 1-1 draw at Carrow Road back in August, admitted he was not sure which side they will be supporting tomorrow.

“I don't know, I'll have to ask them!” he said. “They're still at the age where they're not that bothered. They just like watching the game.”

But Taylor knows which side his bread is buttered and will not hold back trying to secure three points for his side, who currently sit second in the Coca-Cola Championship table, four points above Reading.

“Anyone who plays against their ex-clubs no matter if they enjoyed it there or whatever, you always just go out in a professional manner and do your best for your current club - that's just the way it works,” he said.

“I was really grateful, that I had a really good time in Norwich and the fans were excellent so I really appreciated that when I went back.

“At the time the situation was that I nearly joined and it didn't quite work. You have to just get on with your career and I had to try to force my way back into the Birmingham team which I did and it worked quite well.

“I managed to force myself back into the manager's plans and obviously Norwich moved on and looked at different players.

“At the time I was quite close to signing, but I've enjoyed my season, so it's worked out quite well.”

The central defender, who notched two goals in his time at Carrow Road, admitted he was surprised at the situation the club find themselves in this season, but is still expecting a tough battle against Bryan Gunn's men.

“I'm really surprised to see them down there,” he said. “When we played at the start of the season, the first half, they were really strong and we did well to keep ourselves in the game really. There's not a massive difference.

“Where Norwich have been losing it's been by the odd goal and where we've been winning it's been by the odd goal. It's only tight margins. But there are so many good players down there and I'm sure, like they've shown in the last couple of weeks, they can get the results to get out of it.

“From past experience every game's competitive whether you playing teams at the top or at the bottom. Norwich have a hell of a lot to play for and it's probably more difficult than playing mid-table teams at this time of the season.”

The Blues enjoyed a fine 2-0 win at Doncaster Rovers last time out and ominously, Taylor believes they are entering their best spell of the season.

“We know it'll be a really tough test on Saturday but we go out to win every game. We have a lot of self-belief,” he said.

“The last couple of weeks we've picked up a bit. We haven't really had a sticky spell but we've kind of missed opportunities in the last few week which put a bit of a down us.

“But if you look at the table we're still in a great position, so we've had a run of form at the right time so we're still up there.”