ASH TAYLOR aims to make up for lost time and pick up some lost ground, now he’s back in action with Tranmere.
The versatile 21-year-old returned to first-team duty this week, playing his first competitive game since summer knee surgery in the 2-0 Johnstone’s Paint Trophy defeat to Huddersfield at Prenton Park on Tuesday.
Taylor had expected to be eased back with a reserve team outing at Burnley the previous night.
But manager Les Parry wanted to deploy the youngster’s ball winning skills in the northern semifinal against the Terriers at Prenton Park.
“It was great to be back, even if it wasn’t the best of results to come back to,” Taylor said.
“I was surprised because I thought I was going to get a reserve game on Monday night.
“There was a little bit of worry at the back of my mind but I have done a lot of training over the last few weeks and I felt very focused.”
Taylor will face stiffer competition for a place in the side at Swindon Town tomorrow. Midfielder Joss Labadie is due back from suspension and centre back Marlon Broomes is in the frame for a recall following a layoff with a back injury.
But Parry sees Taylor as a valuable addition to the squad as Rovers seek to climb the table after losing the last two League One games to Hartlepool and Leyton Orient, both on home soil.
Taylor said: “It’s frustrating I was out for so long. I’m hoping we can put a few results together over Christmas and climb the table. I would like to think we can be clear of the relegation places by the New Year.
“It is most unlike us to have lost three games in a row at home, where we are normally strong. We’ve got to lift our heads up.”
Taylor, a product of Tranmere’s youth development setup, established himself as a first-team regular last season, operating either at centre back or in a defensive midfield slot.
He spent much of his time on the treatment table alongside Alan Mahon, who is also coming back from summer surgery.
Midfielder Mahon played his first game of the season for the reserves on Monday night, enjoying a 60 minute workout.
Taylor said: “It was helpful to have Alan with me. He is experienced and gave me some good advice. He said it was important to keep happy about the place and focus on the future. That’s what I tried to do.”
Parry says Mahon won’t be considered for the Swindon game, or even the games through the Christmas programme. “Over the Christmas spell Alan will train a lot more,” Parry added. “We are not expecting him back until the new year.”
Rovers hope experienced striker Ian Thomas-Moore will travel with the squad to the County Ground after missing the Huddersfield game with a calf injury.