KARL Robinson says Matty Taylor has his ‘full backing’ after a difficult start to the season for the striker.
Oxford United’s No 9 will hope to get off the mark for 2022/23 at the fourth time of asking in tonight’s Sky Bet League One clash with Lincoln City at the Kassam Stadium (7.45pm).
Taylor has struggled to make an impact so far this term, not helped by the fact that the U’s are yet to produce one of the free-flowing attacking displays that we saw last season.
The 32-year-old from Kidlington was United’s top-scorer in the previous three campaigns and Robinson is confident he will come good ahead of what could be his 150th appearance for the club.
“We’re only a few games in, he’ll score goals – that’s what Matty Taylor does,” the U’s head coach said.
“The goals he has scored are incredible.
“Every manager in this league would take Matty.
“Maybe our service hasn’t been great to him, but Matty Taylor is someone I want wearing an Oxford shirt week-in, week-out.
“Anybody who thinks he’s coming to the end of his career – trust me, he isn’t, he’s got a long way to go.
“He’s frustrated, we’ve had many conversations. He knows what we expect and he sets his standards so high, and the more you love a club the more it hurts when you don’t play well.
“When he doesn’t score, it eats away at him because he cares.”
Taylor has scored 58 goals in 138 games since re-joining United from Bristol City, initially on loan, in 2019. His first 11 senior appearances came as a teenager before his release in 2009.
The striker has scored 17, 19 and 22 goals in the last three seasons, but took time to get going in each of those campaigns.
Taylor did not get off the mark until his sixth game of 2019/20, managed three in his first 12 at the start of 2020/21 and only bagged once in his opening eight matches last term.
He has had very little to work with this season, managing just five shots and not registering a single effort in Saturday’s defeat to Bristol Rovers.
“I’m glad he’s started the way he has, because it asks questions of him and there’s no better Matty Taylor than when he’s being asked questions of,” Robinson said.
“There will be games we rotate because that’s what Kyle (Joseph) is here for, but Matty Taylor is ‘one of our own’, as the fans sing.
“Matty’s someone I’ve got full backing for.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing what he does in the next few games, because he was like a coiled spring in training.”
When Taylor does open his account, few people will be more delighted than Robinson.
He said: “I have a soft spot for Matty, we have a love-hate relationship.
“If he gets that 150th appearance that’s a milestone for your local club.”