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Taylor made for Irish comeback with Bradford City
Updated 9:32am Tuesday 15th July 2014 in Sport
Matt Taylor, pictured right at pre-season training, has played only four City games since signing a year ago
MATT Taylor could make his first City appearance of 2014 tonight when they play UCD in Dublin.
The centre half has reported no problems since returning to pre-season training after an operation to repair a foot injury.
Phil Parkinson is confident Taylor can stand up to a match situation and will consider giving him some minutes on the pitch in the opening friendly of their Ireland tour.
The City boss said: “Matt’s fine. He would have played on Saturday but we just wanted to give him that little bit longer.
“We wanted to get a bit more football in his legs before giving him a game but he is ready. He’s looking absolutely superb and has lost weight.
“I’m not sure he was overweight as such but he was maybe a bit bulky at the top. He’s really toned himself and looks in really good shape.”
Taylor last played for the first team at Peterborough in December but was subbed at half-time. His season ended two months later when he suffered the injury in a private training game against Leeds.
The former Charlton defender has played only four times for the club since joining on a two-year deal last summer, although he did have a successful month’s loan with Colchester.
City are not short of cover in the middle of defence and may still decide Taylor is surplus to requirements.
But his progress is a welcome boost for Parkinson as he looks to swell the present numbers at his disposal.
Centre half Richard Bryan, who did well in the first 45 minutes against Guiseley, is not in Ireland but could still be flown over during the week.
Angelo Balanta and Nick Arnold are the only trialists from Saturday currently with the squad, although Parkinson has not ruled out adding to the group while they are there.
He said: “That’s what pre-season is all about. We can’t take 30 players out with us and we’ll chop and change.
“Maybe one or two of the youngsters might come back early and we’ll send some of the others out.”
Youth-team trio Sam Wright, who featured against Guiseley, back-up keeper Elliott Barker and defender James King have all travelled with the seniors.
City are taking no chances with Aaron Mclean and Oliver McBurnie and neither striker will be involved this evening.
Mclean started running again yesterday as he recovers from a tight calf, while youngster McBurnie is being treated for a problem with his back.
“We’re obviously not going to push Aaron at this stage and we’ve got to be cautious with Olly, who had this problem before when he was younger,” said Parkinson.
“He only the trained the first day and looked really good but it flared up from doing something innocuous in the gym.
“We’ll see how he goes while we’re here. If he can’t play, he’ll have to help with the kit.”
Athlone-born Alan Sheehan expects to swell the crowd at the UCD Bowl with a few relatives.
The left back is no stranger to pre-season trips back home and believes it will be a useful exercise.
“I’ll have some family coming to the game, which will be good because I don’t get to see them often," said Sheehan.
“But it’s all business. We’re here for six days of hard work.
“I came over a few times in pre-season before with Leeds and it’s nice and competitive.
“Teams are going to be a lot fitter than us because they’ve been playing all season. But it’s about getting a strong base and building from there. Results in pre-season aren’t important.”