Rob Taylor has finally shaken off the illness that has plagued him in recent weeks and is hoping to cement his place back in the Mansfield Town side.
Ahead of tomorrow’s FA Cup first round visit of Concord Rangers, left winger Taylor explained:
“It was like a stomach virus and was really knocking me about. I literally got fatigued and had no energy.
“I spoke to the gaffer and sometimes you put yourself in the firing line, but I am not good out there if I am not 100 per cent fit and able to play how I want to. So I had to step out for three or four weeks.
“I am okay now and feeling pretty good. I am getting my fitness and sharpness back and it’s been good to start the last two games.
“I had a few tests done and I have to watch what I eat. I have been very professional about it and it’s all good now.”
Taylor was part of the side that flopped 2-1 at home to Southend last week and said: “For the first hour we were not good enough. We left it too late to be fair.
“After the York game we thought we could carry that form into last Saturday but, for whatever, reason the boys didn’t get going, though we still created chances.
“We have drawn four of the last five. We are not getting battered every week – the game have been close. But we need to be hitting form before December as that’s when the league starts to break up – it’s quite close now.”
Taylor is a left winger by trade but he is more than happy to fit into the side at left wing back, even if the Stags’ direct style of play has taken some getting used to after his move from League One Port Vale.
“I have played wing back roles before and enjoyed it. Here is it a bit more direct so there is a bit more of a fitness element to it,” he said.
“Also, the gaffer has brought in other players so there is competition on that wing. Keiron Freeman and Lee Beevers can play there so just because I have started the last two games doesn’t mean I will play on Saturday. All you can do is try to be the best you can.
“When I first came here it was a bit of a shock in training as it was such a high tempo. You didn’t get a chance to put your foot on the ball. But that’s how the boys like to play and it can be a very positive thing. It has got us results and if we can get back to that way and play to our strengths we can stop this winless streak.
“Playing direct doesn’t just mean long ball. You can still get it down and play at times. You play direct but you also play smart as well. We have a lot of talented players in this squad. I was quite surprised when I came here that we have a lot of very good footballers and, if we can mix that into how the gaffer wants to play, I am sure we will be successful.”
Although Taylor has enjoyed some good League Cup runs, the FA Cup has never been that kind to him yet.
“I have never had a big run in the FA Cup, though I’ve been to round four a few times,” he said.
“They (Concord) will be absolutely buzzing. We know people can mess up in these games and we need to be as professional as we can to try to get to the next round.”