Nottingham Forest legend Garry Birtles has leapt to the defence of striker Lyle Taylor after the forward was criticised by fans after their 1-0 loss to Luton Town.
Taylor came on as a second half substitute with Forest a goal down and had little to no impact, taking heavy fire on social media as a result.
However, Birtles – not for the first time – has stuck up for Taylor, saying that it is harsh to slam someone who isn’t getting a lot of minutes, while also highlighting how the rest of the team aren’t doing enough in front of goal either.
“Lyle Taylor is top scorer with four (in the league) but he’s not getting a start,” Birtles said to Nottinghamshire Live.
“Anyone will tell you it’s very difficult to come into a game and get into the speed of it straight away.
“It’s unfair to criticise people when they only get a bit of time.
“People said the substitutes made no impact against Luton, but the problem is when the top scorer has four goals, you are looking for others to chip in.
“No-one else has been. Joe Lolley last season was weighing in with goals. Centre halves aren’t scoring goals.”
Taylor hasn’t scored a league goal since early November and hasn’t started a Championship match since the 2-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday in mid December.
While he has been a regular substitute since, he frequently hasn’t had that much time to make an impact, although he showed nothing to suggest he should be starting in the Luton match.
However, Birtles said that it is difficult to get into games as a sub and he believes Taylor is maybe trying too hard to get into manager Chris Hughton’s plans.
Birtles also suggested that regardless of anything, it’s just important the Reds get to the summer as a Championship club.
“I think it’s harsh to criticise Taylor. He had to come off the bench (against Luton) and it’s difficult to get into the pace of the game.
“You maybe try too hard. He’s a trier and his work rate is very good. He comes too deep sometimes and you lose him in the box. With Lewis Grabban injured there is a dilemma on who to play.
“Chris only wants to play one up front. I think he wants the end of the season to come. We need to stay up and then give him the summer. Let him build.”
Should Lyle Taylor be given more slack from Nottingham Forest fans?