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Matty Taylor injury length offers fresh blow to Cheltenham Town survival hopes

Cheltenham Town assistant manager Ian Baraclough gave a key update on Matty Taylor’s hamstring injury as the Robins’ relegation battle heats up.

The former Bristol City and Bristol Rovers striker hobbled off the pitch in his side’s 3-1 loss to Charlton Athletic at the Completely-Suzuki Stadium to dampen spirits in Cheltenham’s survival hopes.

Taylor has scored four goals since he arrived at Whaddon Road on deadline day in January from Gloucestershire rivals Forest Green Rovers, including on his debut against Wycombe Wanderers, in a move that reunited him with manager Darrell Clarke after they spent time together in the blue side of Bristol with Rovers.

Taylor in action for Bristol Rovers in 2015 against other former club Forest Green Rovers

“He’s disappointed,” Baraclough, Clarke’s right-hand man, admitted.

“He’s down because he’d like to play a big part.

“He’s come in, he’s scored some goals for us, some big goals – that’s what he does.

“He’s a frustrated footballer who wants to be on the pitch, and when he’s not, he still wants to give in other areas.

“He was at the game at Oxford on Saturday so he’s rooting behind the boys, and that’s the type of spirit that’s in the camp.”

A key player in Cheltenham’s survival quest, and someone who was reportedly Clarke’s top target in his first transfer window with the Robins, Taylor is keen to get back to action as soon as possible.

“He’s hopeful that he could be back in a couple of three weeks but that’s just him, and you’ve got to be very careful with hamstring injuries,” continued Baraclough.

“He had one before as well, so, he knows his own body, but he’ll be desperate to get out there for the final push.”

At 33, the Englishman, who won one cap for England C whilst playing for FGR, is one of the more senior players within the Cheltenham squad.

His absence provides opportunity for the Robins other forwards to try and make the central striking position their own, with the likes of George Lloyd and Aidan Keena needing to step up.

Lloyd has two goals so far this season, but both came in the same game, against Shrewsbury Town on Boxing Day, whereas Keena is struggling for form and is yet to find the net this campaign.

The influence Taylor holds in the squad is apparent, as Baraclough emphasised stating his presence at Oxford, and Keena also holds his forward colleague in high esteem.

“He’s still good to have about,” Keena revealed.

“He’s not just injured and not being a part of it anymore.

“He’s still part of the squad and he’s still a big player there and he’s got a lot of experience that we can all tap into.”

Cheltenham face high-flyers Barnsley, who sit fifth in League One, on Saturday and will need their strike force to be full of ammunition if they are to trouble the Tykes in South Yorkshire.

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