It’s quite rare that a club’s leading goalscorer ever needs to prove himself to his manager, however you get the feeling that Lyle Taylor has had to do just that whilst away on international duty this week.
It has been a frustrating campaign for the Nottingham Forest striker, who celebrated his 31st birthday this week. He is the Reds’ top goalscorer with five goals in all competitions, since joining the club on a free transfer in the summer.
But Taylor, who has made 33 appearances in the Championship this season, has made only 13 league starts, falling behind Lewis Grabban and Lyle Taylor in the pecking order.
Away on international duty for Montserrat, Taylor has scored three goals in two games for his country in their bid to qualify for the FIFA World Cup. He will be hoping that his form in front of goal help him to play a part in Forest’s season between now and May.
It has been hard for Taylor to make an impact in a side which has created so little chances and has scored so few goals this season. But when he has scored, Forest have failed to lose the game.
His first goal came as a equaliser in the 1-1 draw with Derby in October, before netting a late winner from the penalty spot against Coventry City and scoring a brace in a 2-0 win over Wycombe. He then added his fifth goal of the season in the 1-0 FA Cup win over Cardiff in January.
It’s also clear to see where Taylor poses most of his goalscoring threat. All five of his goals this season have come from inside the penalty, with the forward showing his predatory instincts in a Garibaldi shirt.
Four of those five have come from crosses, where Taylor has showed his experience to position himself in the right place at the right time. His goal against Wycombe showed his willingness to run and drive into the danger area, before firing low and beyond Ryan Allsop.
For a side which like to get plenty of crosses into the area, you’d think that Taylor would be right up there at the forefront of Hughton’s plans. But the truth is, Grabban and Murray are very similar players who thrive on pouncing onto crosses and poaching inside the area.
What lies in store for Taylor remains to be seen.