No outfield player featured more heavily in our title-winning campaign last year than City full-back, Andrew Taylor.
Now in his third season as a Bluebird having signed for the Club from Middlesbrough in the summer of 2011, fan-favourite Tayls made 43 starts in the Championship before re-establishing himself as a consistent top-flight performer for the greater part of this campaign.
Unfortunately, injury towards the tail end of the calendar year brought about an extended time away from action for the 27 year-old. But having made his 100thCardiff City appearance in September’s 2-1 win at Fulham, a fully recuperated Andrew is looking forward with optimism to more success with the Bluebirds.
“I had a problem with both of my calves which was giving me quite a lot of trouble in terms of fatigue and recovery, especially prior to the operation I had around the turn of the year,” Andrew told cardiffcityfc.co.uk
“The operation I had was successful though, so then it was a case of recuperating and getting back to fitness. The result against Wigan was disappointing last weekend, but it was very good to play again after nearly two months out. I’m fit and ready for the run-in now.
“There’s never a good time to be injured, but with Malky leaving and the new Gaffer coming in, it certainly was one of the worst possible times that I could be out of action. When a new Manager comes in you want to make an impression, but after the operation I was just sitting there unable to train or play. It was obviously frustrating, but it’s something that as a footballer you just have to get on with. You get injured, but then it’s about doing the right things to get back to the levels you were at.”
City fans and players alike will no doubt be buoyed by the Hartlepool-born defender’s return to the fray – not only for his consistency, but his leadership qualities too.
“I can be quite vocal at times,” Andrew admitted with a wry smile. “I’ve certainly got that experience of being involved in a Premier League relegation fight having been through it a couple of times with Middlesbrough, so coupling that with the fact that I’m one of the older boys in the group at the moment then I’ll certainly look to pass on what I’ve learned in the past. Everybody needs to contribute though and I’ll be doing what I can in that respect.”
And Taylor has no doubt in his mind that with plenty of game time still on offer, the Bluebirds have every chance of a sophomore season in the Barclays Premier League, adding: “The difference between the Championship and the Premier League is that whereas the last ten to twelve games in the Championship tend to feel like the latter stages, it’s because you play a total of forty six games in that division. That means that when you reach the last ten or so games you feel like you’ve crossed, or are soon about to cross, the finish line.
“In the Premier League there are only thirty eight games, meaning we’ve still got the best part of a third of our season to play. There are plenty of points on offer and games that we can win – we have a great belief in our abilities to climb the table between now and May.
“Everything is still very much to play for and if we all stay strong as one then there’s no reason to believe that we can’t be successful in our goals.”