The goalkeeper with big gloves to fill – who is Rhys Taylor?

By Joel Lampkin

With an injury essentially ending Scott Davies season, Micky Mellon took decisive action to recruit a temporary signing until the end of the season in the form of Rhys Taylor.

The 27-year-old who has joined on loan from AFC Fylde will be stepping between the sticks with hopes of possibly securing a future deal at Prenton Park.

Davies suffered a 10 inch tear in his quadricep will require extensive rehabilitation, and with Luke Pilling not deemed ready to fill his shoes, a temporary replacement was required.

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Taylor has been a bystander at Fylde since September when he lost his place in the squad to Jay Lynch, as he had made 10 appearances up until that point keeping just one clean sheet.

A lot of the former Chelsea and Manchester United youth product’s career has been as a back up keeper with just one appearance made in the 2016-17 season that saw his parent club promoted into the National League.

However, while on loan at local rivals Wrexham two years ago, Taylor secured a consecutive six clean sheets against the likes of Chester, Macclesfield and Kidderminster earning a total of nine for the season.

Former clubs

The 27-year-old has made 260 appearances for nine different clubs, although he began his footballing education at Stamford Bridge as a youth product at Chelsea, sitting in on the bench for injured shot stoppers.

He never featured for the North London club but was instead a frequent selection for their reserve side, featuring eight times from 2007-12.

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Taylor was a youth product of Chelsea (image: talksport)

While he never earned the pedigree of the Premier League, a loan to Championship side Queens Park Rangers never panned out, and he eventually made his first competitive debut in English football for League Two outfit Crewe Alexandra.

On loan at The Railwaymen, Taylor secured 49 appearances in the 2010-11 season, tallying 11 clean sheets along the way helping ensure they remain in the division.

Rotherham United would be his next temporary destination while still currently signed to parent club Chelsea, as he made 20 appearances for The Millers – bagging seven clean sheets.

At the end of the 2011-12 season he was eventually released from The Blues along with Saloman Kalou and Jose Boswinga, with Preston North End snapping him up, but alas the switch was not a happy one as the following season he opted for a drop down into the Conference Premier with Macclesfield Town.

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Taylor made over 100 appearances for Macclesfield Town (image: Daily Post)

Here, with an opportunity to shine, Taylor earned an impressive 115 appearances for The Silkmen across three seasons before eventually seeing his future lie elsewhere at Newport County where he made just a handful of appearances.

With Wrexham enquiring about his services on loan, the goalkeeper took up the opportunity bagging just under 30 appearances in the 2015-16 season.

As his contract expired at Newport, he took up the option to sign for National League side AFC Fylde where a series of top displays from Lynch has halted potential opportunities for Taylor.

However, now in his next chapter, Tranmere have come calling and with one league start already to his name against Barrow, he will have many more opportunities to shine this season.

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While the injury to Scott Davies is obviously a traumatic one, and one that Tranmere could do without after suffering a handful of injuries already this season and the last.

It is smart business to bring in an experienced keeper at this time of the year, as although young Luke Pilling is a future star, he is not at the level his club needs him to be at art the moment.

Same goes for Patrick Wharton.

Pilling has already made a couple of mistakes leading to goals, and often looked out of his depth, maybe these have simply been case of bad luck, as he looked well in the ‘original FA Trophy tie against Solihull Moors‘ but can Tranmere afford to pass this off on luck?

No. Micky Mellon has a tendency to fill in the gaps with good, respected and experienced players when needed, and this transfer fits the description also. Taylor may not be at the level of Davies, but he does not need to be, he has to know how to stop the ball going into the back of the net, dictate his back four and keep play rolling.

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