Since Marcos Alonso's departure, after the Bolton's playoff near miss in the spring of 2013, we've had a succession of disasters at left back. Prior to this season that is. Step forward Wigan reject Andrew Taylor, someone who couldn't be loaned to Bolton fast enough and a player ridiculed by their fans.
Taylor dropped into a back four that had shipped goals for fun the previous season, despite at times having last seasons POTY Holding and Wheats at centre back. Whilst the finger could rightly be pointed at a generally poor midfield, hopeless full back performances were the main cause of our downfall.
This season we had Buxton to compete with Wilson for right back, whilst Taylor was brought in for Moxey. Whilst Buxton never really got started, Taylor has blossomed.
A lack of game time meant that Taylor needed to work up his match fitness, much like Ameobi, but once he had, Taylor has been a revelation. Defensively astute, pacy, with a wicked cross and perhaps most importantly, consistently good. If he hadn't picked up a few injuries, his league stats would be more than the current 28 starts and 3 subs appearances.
Along with Wilson, Wheats and Beevers, Taylor was part of that invincible defensive back four, on our previous great run from October through to the New Year. Wheater and Beevers have taken the spotlight away from the fullbacks with both superb central defensive displays and of course those set piece goals. However, people maybe forget that many of Bolton's goals came from Taylor crosses/assists.
Wilsons long term injury in February meant a change of formation to 3-5-2. Taylor moved with ease from left back to wing back. If anything his performances improved. When I last saw him play against Oxford, I thought he didn't have one of his best games. He still got a 7/10.
Taylor has been one of the main reasons that has enabled Parky to firstly stabilise a beaten team and then set it up to not just regroup in league one, but actually go for promotion. If it wasn't for the unsung heroes like Andy Taylor, Bolton would not now be in a position to offer those fan favourites, Morais and Alfie, a platform to drive the club forward to promotion. So let's salute the quiet man, and give Taylor the highly sought 2017 Bolton Wanderers player of the year.