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James Crawley

James Crawley writes

Posted Saturday, April 21st 2018

WellRed meets: Matty Taylor

Fifteen months since swapping blue and white for red and white - crossing the Bristol divide - Matty Taylor sat down with WellRed to reflect on his time at Ashton Gate.

Injuries, goals and GIFs are all on the agenda in an open and honest chat with the Oxford-born striker.

TELL ME ABOUT YOUR FIRST FULL SEASON HERE AT CITY

"It didn’t get off to a great start as I was injured early on and then it took a while to get a diagnosis. That was frustrating but then we thought we had found out what was wrong.

"I got myself fit and was playing catch up but then leading up to the New Year I was experiencing a lot of pain in my stomach; it turned out to be a hernia. I also had to have the other side operated on, which was more frustrating.

"It has felt a lot better since but I am still needing to break down a lot of scar tissue. I feel a bit stiff, I have to warm up longer before I start training, so it’s a different schedule but it’s nice to be back playing and to have scored my goal against Birmingham City recently.

"I know I need to work a lot harder this summer to make sure I am right for next season."

THE CLUB USED YOUR SNAKE GIF IN THE BIRMINGHAM GAME WHICH WENT DOWN VERY WELL

"I can’t remember whose idea it was! I remember seeing the snake when we were filming – I think it may have been planted for me by the media team – and I jokingly said I would use it.

"It was funny at the time and was light hearted of course. There was no serious mickey-taking towards Bristol Rovers; it’s just my personality."

YOU BECAME THE FIRST ROVERS PLAYERS TO MAKE THE CITY SWITCH FOR 30 YEARS WHEN YOU SIGNED HERE IN JANUARY 2017. IS THERE STILL RESPECT BETWEEN YOURSELF AND YOUR FORMER EMPLOYERS?

"Yes. It was a good club to play for and they supported me throughout my time there. I am sure some fans are annoyed by the move but there are a lot of people who I bump into who know why I wanted the move and they don’t begrudge me for doing so, whether I transferred to City or elsewhere.

"I thoroughly enjoyed my time there but that’s football; you have to move on. I moved up a level coming to City and admittedly I would have liked to score more goals but this season has been hampered by injury. You have to take the passion away for a second and look at it from a development angle.

"This isn’t to sound disrespectful to Rovers, but Ashton Gate is a bigger place to play, the facilities are newer and I’ve always wanted to test myself at higher levels, to see how far I can go.

"Some people will look at me and say I have failed here but if I could go back in time and do it all over again, I would."

CITY HAVE GONE FROM BATTLING RELEGATION TO FIGHTING FOR A TOP-SIX FINISH, AS WELL AS MAKING A NAME FOR THEMSELVES IN THE CUP IN THE LAST YEAR. IT'S NOT BEEN A BAD CAMPAIGN HAS IT?

"If the play-offs were in our hands then everyone would be buzzing. We know form has dipped but teams have made it a lot tougher in the second half of the season. It shows how difficult this league really is: look at Cardiff City, who everyone expected to be promoted a month ago and now they are being chased by Fulham.

"There are big clubs battling it out, ourselves still included, and you have to look at where we were a year ago."

This is a preview from inside the upcoming WellRed matchday programme - available to buy from around Ashton Gate for just £3.

Inside Matty talks more about the supporters' importance, feelings as a soon-to-be dad and his Oxford roots.