Bristol City’s forgotten centre-back as out-on-loan defender faces limbo upon summer return

There is a key decision to make in the summer for one of Bristol City’s loaned out players who faces an uncertain future
Taylor Moore has spent almost the whole season at Hearts. (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)Taylor Moore has spent almost the whole season at Hearts. (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Taylor Moore has spent almost the whole season at Hearts. (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Bristol City have this season struggled in defence, shipping the second highest amount of goals in the Championship, only second to bottom club Peterborough.

There have various partnerships and trios played at centre-back but it has proven an area of the field that has frustrated Nigel Pearson the most.

The 58-year-old has spoken of his desire to recruit a centre-back in the summer, despite all but one of his options, being contracted beyond this season and even then, Timm Klose may merit a new deal.

When the 2021/22 season comes to an end, players will go off for a break but return for an earlier pre-season with the Championship campaign set to begin in late July, owing to the World Cup in December.

Taylor Moore has played in various roles for Hearts this season. (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)Taylor Moore has played in various roles for Hearts this season. (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Taylor Moore has played in various roles for Hearts this season. (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)

One player though that has an uncertain future at Ashton Gate is defender Taylor Moore, who is currently out on loan at Scottish Premiership side Hearts.

Sent out to the Edinburgh side on Deadline Day after featuring against Forest Green Rovers in the Carabao Cup, Moore has found himself low down the pecking order, despite signing a new contract under former boss Dean Holden in October 2020.

Not fancied by his successor, Moore finds himself in a situation where he remains contracted to the club until 2023, but is not in the first team picture.

In the months he’s spent north of the border, he’s made 17 appearances, starting 12 of those, whilst he has also been tried at right-back over the course of the season.

Moore, back in December, expressed his desire to remain in Hearts, but no public discussions have taken place and instead the 24-year-old finds himself battling for a place in the side at his loan club.

His future is likely to be away from the club and unfortunately he has just found himself in a position where his preferred manager has left the club and the next has gone for another option.

So can City expect to get a fee for one of their players this year and is a move to Hearts a real possibility? We spoke to The Scotman’s Barry Anderson, our man with the inside track with all things at Tynecastle Park on the feasibility of a permanent move up to Scotland and what kind of player he will be if he returns to Ashton Gate.

What have you made of Taylor Moore’s career so far at Hearts?

He’s been a useful player at right-back and centre-back. Good distribution going forward and comfortable on the ball. Hasn’t managed to start regularly which will frustrate him but looks a decent player.

Moore himself said in December, he wanted to stay. Has anything been said by the club/manager about him extending his stay and do you think he should?

Nothing has been said. If he wants to start every week he might need to look elsewhere. If he’s happy as a squad player then maybe he could be that at Hearts.

Would Hearts have enough money to pay for a transfer fee or would they hope for another loan or a free transfer?

I don’t see them paying a fee and wages may be an issue so if he was to be back at Hearts I’d expect it to be another loan.

Bristol City play with three centre-backs in their back line, where has Moore fit in at Hearts and what kind of centre-back has he been?

He has played right centre-back in a back three for Hearts, plus right-back in a four. He once played right wing-back. His use of the ball is very good and he is a technical defender who can start attacks from the back. Sometimes the raw aggression needed to play CB in Scotland would need to be worked on.

With Moore turning 25-years-old this summer, how important is his next move? And should he return to Bristol City, does he return a better player?

I think he will definitely have learned from his time in Scotland and should be better for it. He will have learned more about traditional defending and putting your body on the line to win the ball. Hearts have two centre-backs who do that really well in John Souttar and Craig Halkett.