Blues boss Alex McLeish has left the door wide open for the Canaries to pin Martin Taylor down to a full-time deal after the new Birmingham City manager told the 28-year-old centre-half that he wasn't part of his long-term plans at St Andrew's.
Norwich boss Glenn Roeder will, he revealed, therefore sit down with 'Tiny' after training today to discuss 'What next?' – first an extended loan deal that takes the City defender through to January 1 and the opening of the transfer window. After that and everything is on the table. Including a permanent deal to once and for all bed a tall, strapping No5 into the Canaries' thinking.
“I'll sit down and talk to him after training today,” said Roeder at Colney this morning.
“I've had a chat with Alex McLeish and I know that he (Taylor) spoke to McLeish yesterday – he went to Birmingham and spoke to McLeish at the training ground – and I think McLeish gave him an indication that they are prepared to listen to offers and that he didn't have a big future at Birmingham; that he wouldn't stand in his way if he could get fixed up. So that was obviously encouraging for us when I speak to Martin today.”
All of which is likely to get a clutch of clubs queueing up for his services. Norwich, however, remain firmly in the box seat; he's at Colney; playing well; enjoying his football. And in the likes of City No2 Lee Clark and newly-installed coach Paul Stephenson has found two members of the 'Geordie Nation' happily settling into life in Norfolk.
Put all the above with a Carrow Road board that might see securing Taylor's signature on a full-time contract as one way of showing that Ambition can slip ahead of Prudence in the wake of the whole Peter Grant era and the questions that lingered thereafter. Taylor can be a 'Huckerby moment'.
“At first I'd like to extend the loan to January 1 – that will then buy us some time to talk about anything else thereafter,” said Roeder, well aware of the competition gathering for his signature. Interestingly, Roeder was hoping that City's famed geography might actually work in Norwich's favour; that Taylor was the sort of individual that wouldn't be bought by the temptations of the Smoke.
“There are a couple of other clubs interested in him since he's been with us,” said Roeder, offering supporters yet another welcome pick-me-up ahead of tomorrow's clash with Sheffield United with today's 'Tiny' piece of news.
“I think so,” said the City boss, quizzed as to whether he thought Norwich would be in pole position to win his signature.
“He's certainly enjoyed being at the club; he's enjoyed the environment – I have a feeling one of the other clubs is in London and knowing Martin Taylor like I do already, he'll have no interest in living in London. So he's a pretty good judge…
“So those talks this afternoon will be important and, hopefully, I'll come out feeling positive about the chances of Martin staying longer. We're so short in that department that we badly need him to stay as well.”
Technically, though tomorrow's game is his last, City have another couple of days grace before Taylor's initial month-long loan spell expires; time enough for the next stage of his switch to Carrow Road to be completed.
“After Saturday if we haven't got an agreement to extend his loan or anything more than that, we have a couple of days – it's not as if he comes off the field on Saturday and that's it. I think we do have Monday and Tuesday before we have to have a final decision.”
Taylor was the one, small injury doubt ahead of the Blades game after disappearing early in the 2-1 win over Plymouth on Tuesday night. Again, the news was bright on that front.
“Martin just had cramp and as I understand it, he's fine,” said Roeder.
There was, of course, a second big decision looming – one that the City boss had been sleeping on for the last 48 hours. That was, of course, who would lead the team out tomorrow. Jason Shackell was “rested” for the Pilgrims clash which found Mark Fotheringham skippering the side.
Gary Doherty's one match ban will find Shackell walking back into the team tomorrow; whether he'll be leading from the front is something for everyone to discover at ten to three.
“I've definitely made my decision, but again until I've spoken to the people involved in that I wouldn't like them to read that before I speak to them,” said Roeder. It will, however, be a decision that sticks between now and the end of the season.
“Come tomorrow you'll see what my thoughts are as to who'll be captain until the end of the season – when selected.”
Roeder wasn't wholly one for the whole '11 captains on the pitch' argument.
“Yes, you want that. But you still want a captain that really handles that extra bit of pressure, so it is an important responsibility to have.”
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