Awford praise for resurgent Taylor

Ryan Taylor. Picture: Joe Pepler
Ryan Taylor. Picture: Joe Pepler
  • Taylor form draws praise from delighted Blues boss
  • Is one of 14 players out of contract in summer

Andy Awford is loath to pinpoint individuals for specific praise.

Yet the temptation to highlight the form of Ryan Taylor has proven irresistible.

I don’t like singling individual players out, you know that, but he has done very well for us.

Andy Awford

The Pompey man of the moment is providing both goals and assists during the current resurgent run of one defeat in the last nine matches.

The 26-year-old’s strike record has long been a subject of criticism among members of the Fratton faithful, particularly in a campaign when their side have fired so many blanks.

In contrast, his immense work-rate and willingness to give all to the Blues cause continues to be appreciated by his team-mates.

Still, Taylor has netted four goals in the past five matches having been handed a consistent run in the side, the most recent in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Accrington.

There have also been assists for strike-partner Matt Tubbs against Hartlepool and Cambridge United.

An important figure in the successful fight against relegation from the Football League last term, the former Rotherham striker is proving his worth once again.

Awford these days prefers to focus on a team ethic in his interviews rather than picking out individuals.

However, such has been the likeable Taylor’s remarkable input, he has been lured into acknowledging it.

The Pompey boss said: ‘Ryan’s had that run of games, he has been consistent now and I think his level of performance has been good.

‘I don’t know if you read my programme notes against Oxford when I praised him, I don’t like singling individual players out, you know that, but he has done very well for us.

‘I am delighted he got another goal for us onto his tally at Accrington, he’s there to put it in which is what a centre forward should do.

‘I wouldn’t say he has got more confidence now, I think he has been excellent all season.’

Taylor has been an ever-present in Pompey’s starting line-up since the beginning of the current eye-catching run.

Having been dropped to the bench against Burton and Southend in January, he was recalled to the team for the trip to Wycombe.

The forward was one of six team changes at Adams Park in the aftermath of Awford’s vote of confidence and has remained there ever since.

Striking up a decent partnership with Tubbs, the pair have netted eight times in nine matches between them, adding a cutting edge to an often blunt Blues.

It’s a period which has also yielded four wins, four draws and just the sole defeat away at Northampton.

In addition, Awford collected the February Manager-of-the-Month award for League Two in recognition of the undefeated run last month.

Taylor has now scored 13 times in 51 appearances since he was signed by Richie Barker in January 2014.

The contract he signed that day expires this summer, one of 14 Pompey players whose deals are up.

In the meantime, Taylor is seeking to maintain his present levels – his Blues career could well depend on it.