Hands off our hero Matt, says Dar­rell

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Richard Latham

DAR­RELL Clarke re­sponded to ques­tions about Matt Tay­lor’s fu­ture with a sim­ple state­ment: ‘I am not even think­ing about sell­ing him.’

The Rovers man­ager had just seen last sea­son’s lead­ing marks­man in the Foot­ball League take his tally for this cam­paign to 18 with a sec­ond-half dou­ble.

Asked if he an­tic­i­pated in­ter­est in Tay­lor from other clubs dur­ing the Jan­uary trans­fer win­dow, Clarke smiled and said: “If some­one comes in with £10 mil­lion we might look at it.”

He quickly added: “We have no need to sell and it is not some­thing I am even con­sid­er­ing.

“Matty has had a fan­tas­tic year. Peo­ple talk about his fin­ish­ing, but his work rate and de­sire are other im­por­tant qual­i­ties.

“But I don’t want to talk about in­di­vid­u­als af­ter this game be­cause it was an out­stand­ing team per­for­mance. From the start the play­ers com­peted fan­tas­ti­cally well against a phys­i­cal Wim­ble­don side.

“It has been a bril­liant year for us. Our home form in that time has been joint-best in the coun­try. But no one is get­ting car­ried away.”

Af­ter a drab first half in which nei­ther side cre­ated much, Tay­lor’s op­por­tunism proved the dif­fer­ence.

He headed Rovers in front from Lee Brown’s deep cross on 61 min­utes, hav­ing been de­nied by a fine save from Wim­ble­don goal­keeper James Shea only sec­onds ear­lier.

The striker was on tar­get again nine min­utes later, mak­ing space to beat Shea with a low left-footed shot from 12 yards af­ter Chris Lines had set up the chance.

Tay­lor nar­rowly missed out on a hat­trick later on, head­ing wide from a Lines cross in the clos­ing mo­ments of the match. And Wim­ble­don boss Neal Ard­ley was quick to pay his own trib­ute to the Gas striker: “Tay­lor has the lot and if he does end up in a higher league he will do well,” he said.

“But he wasn’t the only rea­son we lost. In Southend and Bris­tol Rovers we have come up against two good teams who have shown us how far we are away from the bet­ter sides in this di­vi­sion.

“Bris­tol’s home form over the past 18 months has been ex­cep­tional and I can see why. They are brave and come at you fast.

“We huffed and puffed, but the bet­ter team showed us that we are short. We had a cou­ple of half-chances in the first half, but even then I thought if we were go­ing to win the game we would have to nick it.”


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