Birmingham boss Alex McLeish is backing long-serving goalkeeper Maik Taylor to earn a new contract at the end of the season even though he has lost his number one spot to loanee Joe Hart.

Northern Ireland international Taylor played a major role in helping Blues gain promotion to the Barclays Premier League last term. But McLeish has preferred on-loan Manchester City player Hart for the opening three league games.

"Can Hart learn from Taylor? Definitely. Maik is a superbly honed athlete at the age of 38 and I am sure he will sign a longer contract when this one finishes," said McLeish.

"We gave him a new contract last season and there is no reason why he can't go on. You have seen the top keepers stay on a long time as long as they keep themselves in trim.

"The likes of Brad Friedel at Aston Villa and David James at Portsmouth are still playing at top level."

The former Scotland boss added: "Maik is a good pro. He is not happy being dropped because he was number one last year.

"When I came he was number three here. I wanted Maik's experience back in the side and he was brilliant last season.

"Leaving him out this season was a tough decision for me. But we have chosen to go with Joe Hart from the beginning and it is Joe's jersey to lose.

"What I do know is I have got a top class keeper ready to come in. Both of them have different attributes but they are two good goalkeepers."

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#Internationals
#David James
#Joe Hart
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#Manchester City
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#Brad Friedel
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#Maik Taylor