Taylor sets sights on return
17th March 2013
Neil Taylor admits his team-mates have been a "joy to watch" this season - and revealed that he hopes to join them on the pitch before the end of the campaign.
The defender has stepped up his recovery from the horrific ankle injury he suffered just four games into the season by returning to full training.
Despite the fact he was expected to be ruled out of the rest of the campaign, Taylor has now set his sights on featuring for the first-team before the end of May.
It would be a remarkable comeback for the 24-year-old, who has had to endure a frustrating time on the sidelines.
However, by his own admission, he has been delighted with what he has seen.
"It's been interesting to watch the boys from the outside," he said. "But to be honest it has been a joy to watch and the fans here are very fortunate in terms of the football they get to see week in, week out.
"I think the biggest platform for us since we arrived in the Premier League has been our ability to keep the ball. I've seen some teams arrive here in a relegation battle and they just can't keep hold of the football, and I think that is a downfall.
"But it's been another great season for the club, we have been on the up for a number of years now and these are exciting times.
"On a personal level it has been frustrating but at least the club continues to move forward."
The Wales international was ever-present last season, making 43 appearances for club and country as the Swans adapted well to life in the Premier League.
He was rewarded for his consistency with a place in Stuart Pearce's squad for the 2012 Olympic Games, featuring in all four games as Team GB were knocked out in the quarter-finals.
And after a solid start to the current campaign, his progress was halted after falling awkwardly under a challenge from Sunderland's Craig Gardner.
"I knew it was something bad straight away," he recalls. "I felt the ankle wasn't right and that it had come out of place, I just didn't know had bad it was.
"The injury was off the back of a big high in terms of the success of last season, the Olympic Games and then back-to-back wins at the start of the new season.
"But it was one of those where I had to get my head around it as quickly as possible.
"It was probably the worst it could have been, so to be back within six months is definitely the best I could have hoped for."
However, as with any serious injury, there are always fears about the future and whether players will return to full fitness.
Luckily for Taylor, his recovering has been a smooth one thanks to the tireless of work of the club's medical department - together with a contract extension back in December that extended his stay at the Liberty until June 2016.
But as he reveals, it could have all been very different.
"There were definitely some fears before my initial operation," he said. "The doctors weren't too happy with it and it was the worst type of injury that I could have sustained.
"But after the operation they said I had a far better chance and from then on it has progressed well. The medical team have been fantastic, as well as the doctors, surgeons and the help I received at St George's Park.
"I cant speak highly enough of them and it is thanks to all of them that I am now back out on the training ground."
Following last season's success in the Premier League, a summer of change swept through the Liberty Stadium as management and a host of key players departed for pastures new.
Inevitably, with a second season of top-flight football on the horizon, doubts crept in about whether the club could sustain the success achieved both on and off the field.
But after a campaign that has rendered yet more points than this stage last year - together with the club's first major trophy - both Premier League and European football will grace SA1 come August.
"When you get injured you always have concerns," said Taylor. "You wonder whether the club will be fighting relegation, knowing that you can't help out because you are on the sidelines.
"But it hasn't been like that at all. The fact that we are going to be a Premier League side again next season is great, not just for me, but for the rest of the lads as well."
He added: "We lost some big players last summer. Not only that, but the manager left as well and there was a massive overhaul.
"There was a lot of worry around the place - in particular with the supporters.
"But the trust was put in the Chairman, he brought the right man in and from there on we have got the right players in and that has been the success for us this year."
In the meantime, Taylor has his own set of targets.
At the time of writing, the defender was due to feature for the Under-21's against Queens Park Rangers on Thursday, before continuing his recovery on the training ground.
But with nine games still to play this season, he hasn't ruled out making a return to first-team action.
"I have to just take things day by day," said Tayls. "I can't get too ahead of myself, but it is great to be back in full training after six months.
"I don't know what it will be like in a week's time. If it hurts then I would need to take a couple of days off.
"But the last two months have been great, and I'll be looking to play a couple of reserve games this month and see where I am come April.
"There are still enough games left this season to see if I can get involved. If it comes then it will be a massive bonus."