ASH TAYLOR is rising to the challenge of returning to the heart of the Tranmere defence, skipper John Welsh believes.
The centre back could not get on to the Rovers team sheet during the early weeks of the season but returned after Mark McChrystal damaged ligaments in his foot in a Johnstone’s Paint Trophy game against Port Vale.
Taylor marked his comeback with a goal and a penalty conversion that night and was also on target in the 2-0 win over Wycombe Wanderers last Saturday.
But Taylor had a difficult game in the 2-1 home defeat to Carlisle last week, prompting manager Les Parry to admit he thought about bringing in a centre back on loan before keeping faith with the 20-year-old from Eastham.
Welsh said: “I thought Ash got better and better as the Wigan game went on and he capped it off with a brilliant goal.
“Credit to him. Ash has been under pressure but he turned it around and showed what a good player he is.”
Taylor could find himself in more demand than ever, once Tranmere have the results of the scan made this week on Ian Goodison’s stomach muscle injury.
Parry is hoping the veteran Jamaican centre back does not require surgery or a lengthy layoff.
Parry said: “Ian is keen, as we all know, to get on the park. We have to see if playing games is aggravating his condition.
“We have eased down his training work to the extent that he does not train on Mondays and Tuesdays in the weeks when we don’t have a midweek game. Wednesday is a day off so we don’t expect him to train until Thursday.”
McChrystal’s layoff could last for another two months as he recovers from surgery.
McChrystal said: “It’s an unusual injury. In the game against Port Vale I went for a header and when I landed I felt a pop in my foot. I wasn’t sure what it was and carried on for a few minutes but I realised something wasn’t right. Once I sat down in the changing room I couldn’t get up again.
“I thought it was my Achilles at first so I’m grateful it wasn’t. We are a few weeks down the line and my foot’s been in a cast. I won’t know much more until I go back to see the specialist.”
Parry has decided against easing midfielders Andy Robinson and Martin Devaney back into fitness with a run out for the reserves in a Central League Cup game at Morecambe tonight (Wednesday). The pair are close to the end of the comeback road from hamstring injuries and could be involved in the League One encounter at Preston North End on Saturday.