'They might well recall him' - Matt Taylor's stance on Brentford loanee who was benched for Oxford United clash

Matt Cox was benched for Bristol Rovers for the first time in League One, where Jed Ward impressed in victory over Oxford United.
Club just left: Brentford.
Transfer details: Loan deal.Club just left: Brentford.
Transfer details: Loan deal.
Club just left: Brentford. Transfer details: Loan deal.

Bristol Rovers boss Matt Taylor said that Brentford "might well recall" Matt Cox as the January deadline day looms.

The comment was made after goal-keeper Jed Ward impressed in his first league appearance for the Gas at the Mem this afternoon. The 20-year-old was preferred in goal over the Brentford loanee, who had played every minute of every game in the league for the Pirates up to that point.

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A lot of speculation surrounding the future of Cox at the club has understandably circulated as the 21-year-old's parent club will be desperate for him to play as many games as possible. Ward, who was recalled from his loan spell at Wealdstone in November, received the player-of-the-match award after his display in between the sticks in Rovers' 3-1 win at home to Oxford United.

When asked about Cox's loan agreement terms Taylor said: "No, there is nothing in any of the loan agreements in relation to the player has to play or not playing. Obviously an agreement did change a couple of weeks ago in terms of where the cutoff was, so they might well recall him (Cox). They've got the option to do that at any stage which is something we're wary of and something we're conscious of in terms of our recruitment of that position. The headline shouldn’t really be about the decision to play Ward or Cox, it should about his (Ward's) performance and the team’s performance."

Ward post-match shared that he had worked tirelessly to get to this stage and to get this opportunity to play in front of the Rovers faithful. Taylor was delighted with the youngster's display. "'I'm really pleased, not only did he make saves which you kind of expect modern goalkeepers to make, but he was quite composed in his performance, he never looked flustered anytime. He made the right decisions which is why we made a change in all honesty. So pleased to start but it's got to be the start of something next for him."

The gaffer hinted that the future of the academy graduate is unknown, as he still has a lot of learning to do. "Whether that's with ourselves or back out on loan, or more game time he's got to maintain that because he's certainly got something about him for a young keeper and young keepers take a long time to mature in terms of their game but there's a lot to like about him."

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Rovers fans were ecstatic at full-time as the team produced their first win of 2024, after what has been a tricky few weeks in the league. Supporters were also happy to welcome back veteran defenders George Friend and James Wilson, who both put in brilliant performances for the Gas, as they returned from their respective injuries. "He (Ward) was well protected generally from the back line, but when they did breakthrough he more than earnt his  current today."

The Pirates' next league fixture will be a trip to Exeter City, whom they lost 2-1 to in the reverse fixture just on Tuesday.

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