Feb 14 2014 by Nick Hilton, Main WIR
STANDARDS in League One are going higher and surviving in the division is getting a tougher proposition, according to Tranmere’s Ash Taylor.
The centre back reckons the fact that Rovers are heading into a relegation six pointer with a club as big and wealthy as Bristol City tomorrow is indicative of how demanding the game’s third tier has become.
“This is a very difficult division now,” Taylor said.
“The standard is going up, season by season and there are some brilliant players around at this level now.
“It is a surprise to see the likes of Bristol City and Sheffield United down near the bottom.
“Sheffield United were challenging for promotion last season and Bristol City were in the Championship. It shows how competitive it has become.”
Taylor sees Tranmere’s first visit to Ashton Gate in seven years as a “six pointer.”
The significance of the game was ramped up after City notched a surprise 3-1 win over promotion chasing Leyton Orient in midweek, edging them above Rovers in the table on goal difference.
“A win down at Bristol would really take us on,” Taylor said. “At the same time we don’t want to be losing a game as important as this.”
Taylor, 23, who spent much of his time at Tranmere learning the centre back trade at the side of Ian Goodison, is now the senior man in a back four that includes 19-year-olds Stephen Arthurworrey (on loan from Fulham) and Matthew Pennington (on loan from Everton) together with left back Liam Ridehalgh (22).
Now Taylor is the older hand the younger players look to him for guidance. He said: “I am the most experienced man at the back so I have to be one of the leaders.
“I picked up a lot from Ian Goodison and I’m still learning from him. He is brilliant on the sidelines. When we go in at half-time, he picks things that we can work on.”
Taylor believes some steadier defensive performances since the turn of the year are due in part to Tranmere establishing a settled back line
He said: “We are getting a bit more continuity. We were swapping and changing a lot through the early part of the season.”