When Taylor first arrived at the Macron, he played second fiddle to Dean Moxey who for several seasons was our go-to left back.
However, since his introduction to the starting XI early on in the season, Andy quickly solidified himself a place in the back 4 and has impressed ever since in his role on the left flank.
Taylor’s impressive performances at the back have gone unnoticed by far too many, but this made me question whether this was in fact a good thing.
As a left back myself in the school team, one of my managers once told me that as a full back “if nobody notices you, you're doing a good job” which has made me realise why Taylor’s performances have gone under the radar throughout the season.
As by far the most consistent player on the team, Andy puts in a solid shift week in week out and similar to the Gary Madine situation, his recent spell on the sidelines has made the majority of the fans recognise the value of Taylor.
When Moxey took his place for the Bradford and Sheffield United games after picking up a knock against Rochdale, his comforting presence was sorely missed in those particularly crucial fixtures as the weakness of Moxey proved to be the difference. Taylor’s injury seemed to influence the heavily debated formation switch to a back three, but seamlessly slotted straight back in, playing further forward in the wing-back position.
This change has benefited Andy in my opinion, as a left back he was always eager to get forward and overlap, pushing him up therefore seemed like the natural thing to do which he has adapted to brilliantly.
The freedom of having that wing to himself has allowed Taylor to provide crosses from the left wing and join the attack when necessary whilst being covered by the in-form back three.
With Taylor initially being brought in on a season long loan deal, there was talk in January as to whether this could be made permanent, how much foundation there was to these rumours, I’m not sure, but should it be possible come the end of the season, it would be an ideal signing for the whites.
With the local lad being praised constantly by Phil Parkinson, his belief in him should buoy him to continue his consistent form to pave the way for promotion and for Parky to offer him a contract at the end of this years campaign.
Currently boasting an unmatchable defensive record this season, we certainly have Taylor to thank for this, even though the limelight is largely upon the faultless partnership of our two centre halves.
Having a player like Taylor who is comfortable on the ball and is level headed on and off the pitch is commendable and something which our loyal fan base rates highly which suggests why criticism has been kept to a minimum, even after the losses.
I’ve personally never been able to point the finger at him for any defensive errors which has pleasingly become a re-occurring theme this season as I maintain that this is the most content I've felt about our back line for years.
To summarise, the low-key full back has been a crucial part of our defensive solidity and is largely the reason for our success so far this season. His steady contributions throughout the year have been recognised by myself as one of the most impressive in the squad and think that his performances should be recognised but should also be ensured to keep his head.
The job in hand is far from over and it is more crucial than ever that the whole team give 110% and treat every remaining game as a cup final in order to secure automatic promotion.