Martin could still be Taylor-made for City

Glenn Roeder's pursuit of Norwich loan target Martin Taylor received a major boost yesterday with Birmingham boss Alex McLeish reportedly targeting fresh defensive reinforcements in the New Year sales.

Glenn Roeder's pursuit of Norwich loan target Martin Taylor received a major boost yesterday with Birmingham boss Alex McLeish reportedly targeting fresh defensive reinforcements in the New Year sales

Roeder is desperate to keep Taylor for City's Championship survival push ahead of the 28-year-old's final match of his current loan spell against Sheffield United this weekend.

The City chief is set for talks with McLeish over the next few days in his bid to extend Taylor's initial stay. Taylor has been a key figure in the club's recent upturn after becoming Roeder's first signing back in November - forcing Roeder to act ahead of the January transfer window to solve City's problem position.

Gary Doherty was restored to central defence alongside ever-present Taylor for the midweek win over Plymouth with captain Jason Shackell left on the bench.

Makeshift centre backs Dublin Dublin and Ian Murray were also pressed into emergency service at centre half during the club's early season struggles.

Former Scotland boss McLeish hinted Taylor could be surplus to requirements at St Andrews after confirming he wants to extend Arsenal defender Johan Djourou's loan deal for the rest of this season.

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McLeish is reportedly keen on a potential £6m permanent switch but admitted he would look elsewhere if the Gunners are reluctant to extend Djourou's current deal.

Birmingham's new boss is confident he can persuade Arsene Wenger to allow the Swiss international to remain in the Midlands despite Kolo Toure's imminent departure to the African Cup of Nations.

“Will I try and keep Djourou for the season?” said McLeish. “I would think that would be a target we would try and achieve. I know Arsene is mindful of the fact Toure is needed for the African Nations Cup. It is an obstacle we will have to try and overcome. But if we can't do that, we will have to try and look for someone else because we are a little bit light in that department of the team.”

The former Scotland and Rangers boss has not ruled out looking north of the border for potential recruits.

“I would like to bring in trusted players,” he said. “It just depends if the target is available or if we can afford the target. There is no doubt I would like to bring in players I have worked with or players I have seen that I would like to work with. We definitely have things down on paper. I would hope to get value for money, I know it can be done and we have to spread the net as far as possible.

“Agents have already been getting in touch with players and already I have a couple in mind I think might be useful. Having money to spend will certainly be new to me. I'm not sure there will be huge funds in January but, if we can make a fist of it in the Premier League, then next summer will be very interesting. But, whatever I get in January, I will make the most of it.”

Meanwhile, one-time City target Calum Davenport could be among a clutch of players released in January at West Ham with boss Alan Curbishley reportedly ready for a New Year clear out.

The 24-year-old - yet to feature at Upton Park this season - has made only six first team appearances since a £3m switch from London rivals Tottenham. Davenport was an instant hit in a three-month Carrow Road loan stint in September 2005.