SWINDON Town boss Richie Wellens admits teenage centre-back Taylor Curran could be in line to start away at Plymouth Argyle on New Year’s Day after the club’s defensive injury crisis worsened against Port Vale on Sunday.

As well as long-term absentee Dion Conroy, Zeki Fryers and Tom Broadbent are both expected to be out for at least another week with muscle problems, while Mathieu Baudry and Ellis Iandolo both suffered fresh injuries in the 2-0 loss at Vale Park.

That leaves Paul Caddis, Rob Hunt and Gabriel Zakuani as the only fit and available defenders in the squad to have started a Football League fixture previously.

Since signing from Southend United almost a year ago, 19-year-old Curran has played just two minutes of competitive league football, although he did play 40 minutes in Town’s 3-0 EFL Trophy defeat to Plymouth earlier this season

Wellens suggested he would not select Curran from the start in an ideal world, but that exact scenario may be forced upon the Town boss given the current injury situation.

Wellens said: “Taylor is an option, but what I don’t want to do with a young lad is put him in and then wreck his confidence for the next four or five weeks.

“What you want to do with these young lads is drip feed them into different scenarios.

“He’s had a couple of appearances where we’ve been comfortable, and he’s got on the ball and he’s looked good.

“The next part of his development is to put him on when we’re holding onto a lead and we’re under a little bit of pressure.

“But he now comes into my thinking because, alongside Gabriel Zakuani, he’s our only fit recognised centre-back.”

Should the Town manager feel Curran has to start against one of the in-form teams in the division, he may at least be comforted by the fact that young and inexperienced striker Sol Pryce grabbed his chance to shine last season.

The then 18-year-old scored a brace on his debut against Stevenage as Town came out on top in a victory for both the club and promoting youth.

Asked how Wellens believes Curran would cope if he is asked to start in front of nearly 18,000 passionate Argyle fans, the Town boss admitted there is only one way to find out.

Wellens said: “You never know whether he’ll be able to cope until you see it.

“If you see Lloyd Isgrove train, you’d never believe the performances he puts out on the pitch.

“Some young players surprise can surprise you, but others can get those rabbit-in-the-headlights moments and it can take them a little bit of time.

“Especially the tempo of the game. He will have never experienced a game as quick and as physical as what he might against Plymouth.”