Middlesbrough got back to winning ways at the weekend with a 1-0 win over second-placed Bournemouth, with Neil Taylor making his debut for the home side at left wing-back.
Previous Boro boss Neil Warnock admitted to looking into signing the free agent, but decided against it. However, following Warnock’s dismissal and with the arrival of Chris Wilder, Middlesbrough made their move for the 32-year-old.
Taylor has had to wait a month to finally get his first taste of action for the Teessiders, but made good on his opportunity when handed his debut at home to Bournemouth on Saturday.
First-choice left wing-back Marc Bola sustained an injury in training and so Taylor stepped in.
Speaking after the game, manager Chris Wilder told The Northern Echo that he was pleased with the Welsh international’s contribution.
“He’s played a couple of games with the Under-23s – 45 and then 60 minutes – and it’s his work on the training ground, and away from things as well, that has given him the opportunity to produce a performance like that,” said the Boro boss.
“He was up against mobile players in wide positions, but didn’t get exposed. He was good with the ball, and gave us a nice calmness about our play.
“I’m delighted for Neil because it’s been quite a difficult season for him, with not getting a club… He’s come in and played well, and gives us balance and competition in that position.”
The win has taken them to just two points outside of the play-offs. They remain in ninth position with 33 points, but are in touching distance of the likes of Stoke and QPR in fifth and sixth on 35 points respectively.
Next up for Boro is the Boxing Day clash at the Riverside against seventh-placed Nottingham Forest. A win for the home side could take them into the Championship top six.
Taylor will be hoping to keep his place against Steve Cooper’s men, although the extent of Bola’s injury is still unknown as things stand.