Taylor: I just need games

Pompey striker Ryan Taylor is hoping to start tonight's Capital One Cup clash against Peterborough Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey striker Ryan Taylor is hoping to start tonight's Capital One Cup clash against Peterborough Picture: Joe Pepler
Smoke bombs were let off during Pompey's match against Charlton today. Picture: Joe Pepler

Steward treated after smoke bombs let off following Pompey defeat

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Ryan Taylor shrugged off his disjointed pre-season campaign and insisted: I just need games.

The Pompey striker played 88 minutes of the opening-day 1-1 draw at Exeter and had an influential role in leading the line.

A groin injury picked up against Ebbsfleet saw Taylor sidelined for the games against Bournemouth and Charlton, after he also missed the Thurrock clash in order to attend a funeral.

He only returned to full training last Thursday, which means the former Bristol City man is slightly under-cooked for the new season.

But while boss Andy Awford may be contemplating changes for tonight’s Carling Cup clash with Peterborough, Taylor is hoping to be given another start to regain the sharpness he feels is missing.

Taylor said: ‘I hope to be playing against Peterborough but it’s obviously not my decision. That’s up to the manager.

‘I want to play every game. I feel I am fit to play and I want another start.

‘I’ve had the injury but I think I just need games now – the physio might have his own ideas on that one, though!

‘We’ll see what they tell me.

‘I had a pulled groin and it’s fine now.

‘It took me a couple of weeks to get over it and I missed a few games so I haven’t had 90 minutes yet.

‘I played most of the Exeter game and it was just nice to be out there again.

‘I felt I did okay and hopefully I can improve on that.’

While Taylor admitted to feeling tired during the closing stages at St James Park, he wasn’t alone, with several players on both sides affected by cramp.

He said: ‘You can feel a bit sluggish if you haven’t had those minutes.

‘You can train as much as you want but you can’t replicate that until you play matches.

‘I think Exeter were tiring in those last 20 minutes, but I can’t say too much because I was as well.

‘I trained a few days towards the end of the week and felt alright but I know there is still a lot more to come.’

Awford certainly has options if he does want to make changes to his side.

Craig Westcarr is an obvious replacement to play his more preferred striking role, after playing in a more withdrawn position behind Taylor at the weekend.

There could also be starting berth for Miles Storey or a tweak to the formation to include Nigel Atangana – both of whom impressed after coming off the bench on Saturday.

Taylor, however, is keen to get more minutes under his belt and is eager to open his account for the new season.

After scoring six times last term, following his January arrival from the Robins, he is clearly seen as an important figure, after being thrown straight into the side with so little training.

‘It was a nice confidence-booster to get the nod for the first game,’ Taylor added.

‘Every striker wants to score that first goal of the new season. But, hopefully, I can get off the mark as soon as possible, which will take the pressure off a bit.

‘I didn’t get too many chances at the weekend. I had a volley in the second half that got blocked and I thought the Exeter lad handled it, but the referee wasn’t interested. It was probably only a half-shout.’