Steve Bruce believes Maik Taylor has rediscovered the form which led the Birmingham City manager to hail him as one of the best goalkeepers in the Premiership.

Taylor had an outstanding first season at St Andrew's in 2003-04 when on loan from Fulham before making the move permanent.

But, without making any blatant errors, the Northern Ireland international has struggled to sustain the same high standards this term.

That has all altered in the past fortnight, with Taylor making outstanding saves for Blues against Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur, plus two fine displays for his country against England and Poland sandwiched in between.

Bruce said: "When I first signed Maik Taylor I thought that he was as good as anything in the Premiership.

"To be fair, compared to the standards he has set, he has not been living up to those in the past few months. He's had a little bit of a dip.

"But all of a sudden we have got him back again at his best and the saves he made against Tottenham from Mido and Fr>d>ric Kanout> on Saturday were magnificent. He is looking his old self again." Birmingham midfielder Damien Johnson has echoed Bruce's sentiments about his Northern Ireland team-mate.

He said: "Like all of us, he has had his fair share of criticism this season but over the last few games he has shown what a topclass keeper he is - and he showed it for all of last season.

"There are not many better keepers than him in the Premiership when he is playing like he can play."

Meanwhile, Bruce is hoping midfielder Muzzy Izzet will finally be able to resume full training this week after his lengthy layoff with a knee problem.