Taggart on goal alert as K-League inch towards May restart

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Golden boot striker Adam Taggart has goals on his mind again, as the K-League prepares to become Asia’s first competition to resume from the worldwide coronavirus shutdown.

A May 9 restart for the K1 has been slated, with the possibility games will be open to spectators due to South Korea seemingly overcoming COVID-19.

Socceroos marksman Taggart struck a league-high 20 goals in his debut season for Suwon Bluewings, as well as tasting FA Cup triumph.

With the March K1 kick-off kiboshed by restrictions surrounding the pandemic, training continued unabated and Taggart is itching to show last season’s stunning feats were a foretaste of things to come.

“If we are the first league to resume in Asia that will be great,” Taggart told The World Game.

“I think they’ll be a lot of interest in the competition because there’s not a lot of football going on around the world, except for maybe Belarus!

“Korea has dealt really well with the coronavirus outbreak (after initially being Asia’s second worst hit country after China) and it’s nice to have something to work towards now.”

Taggart last kicked a ball in anger nearly seven weeks ago in the 2-1 AFC Champions League loss to Malaysian champions Johor, and it has been playing a waiting game since.

“It would have been nice to have carried on the rhythm from last year, but this extra time gives you a chance to get on top of a few things,” he said.

“We don’t know what the season will look like but it seems they’ll have to cram quite a few games in (to make up for the hiatus).”

Taggart, 26, knows all eyes will be on him, with observers curious as to whether he’ll be able to repeat - or perhaps even surpass - last season’s escapades.

“There’s a bit to live up to, but that provides motivation for me to be better than last year,” Taggart said.

“You’re always competing against yourself anyway, and it’s a good feeling to have something to aim for again.

“It’s always the wrong thing to give a number before the season starts because you’re killing yourself by doing that.

“But I did have 20 (last year) in the back of my mind. I think I even wrote it down somewhere as well.

“It was nice to achieve that. As the season progressed I would actually have hoped to get a couple more (Taggart did bag another during Suwon’s FA Cup run).

“But even if I’d scored 30, I’d still have wanted a couple more.

"Looking back on it, I’m really happy how things went.

“I put in a lot of work to achieve it, but it’s only one year and it’s already forgotten about nearly.

“I’m looking forward to not necessarily bettering it, in the number of goals I score but in terms of overall performances.”

Taggart’s exploits attracted a lot interest across Asia but he sees his immediate future at Suwon, where he’s developed a mutual love affair with the club’s fans.

“There was quite a bit of talk but you’ve got weigh up what’s best, and I think staying at Suwon for the near future was important for me,” Taggart said.

“I have the ACL to focus on also and I want to do try and do a bit better than last year as well. 

“One season is great but if you do it the second year, I think that really proves something.

“I don’t think there’s any rush to leave, though you never really know what’s going to happen in football.

“I am really close to the head coach (Lee Lim-saeng) and the fans got behind me from the get go, before I started scoring goals.

“That’s something I appreciate, and they stuck by me through some difficult times last year also. 

“Those are the things you remember, rather than people only supporting you when you do well because anybody can do that. It’s something special that the Suwon fans have.”