KARL Robinson expects Matty Taylor to once again brush off any abuse if he faces his old club this evening.

The striker is expected to be in the squad for tonight’s trip to Bristol Rovers, although he is likely to start on the bench after sustaining an arm injury at Ipswich Town on Saturday.

Taylor, who controversially left the Memorial Stadium for bitter rivals Bristol City in January 2017, endured plenty of abuse from the away section during the sides’ initial Emirates FA Cup first round meeting at the Kassam Stadium.

United’s No 9 scored the opening goal in the 2-2 draw and revealed afterwards that the hostile reception spurred him on.

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Tonight’s game is the U’s first competitive visit to Rovers with fans since August 2019, when Taylor returned to the Memorial Stadium for the first time since his move to City.

United’s team bus received a police escort that day, but Avon & Somerset Police confirmed they will tonight deploy a normal amount of officers for the anticipated THR (threat, harm, risk) level.

Whatever the reception, Robinson does not expect it to put United – or Taylor – off their stride.

The U’s head coach said: “I didn’t know the Bristol fans still felt so strongly about him to have that much of an impact on the game or the atmosphere.

“All the stuff that gets said during, before and after is part of being a football fan – we all need a villain to disrespect.

“Some of the things that fans say are despicable.

“Matty can blank me from five yards away so I’m sure he can blank all of them from a little bit further away.

“When you get away fans coming for you it doesn’t half spur you on.

“I don’t think anything that gets put in front of Matty will faze us or him.

“He’s got some really good friends at Bristol Rovers, Herbie Kane’s a Bristol City fan and he gives Matty more stick than any Bristol Rovers fans do.

“We’ve also got Billy Bodin, who was wonderful for them.

“As a football fan, I would have probably booed anyone who left Liverpool and went to Everton if they came back to Anfield, so I don’t see it being too much of a problem.”

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Tonight’s winner faces Sutton United in the second round on the first weekend of December, while defeat for Robinson’s side would mean they are out of all three cup competitions.

This would reduce fixture congestion for United’s Sky Bet League One promotion bid, but their manager is adamant they want to progress.

He said: “If we played a friendly at the training ground, I’d want to win.

“People who know me know I don’t take losing very well.

“I played darts in Oxford the other week, I lost and I sulked for an hour.

“I don’t believe in being a good loser, you should be willing to accept it and want to be better because of it, but I’ll never be a good loser.”