STEVEN Taylor’s confident Newcastle United can banish painful memories of relegation when they take on Aston Villa.
Alan Pardew’s side visit the scene of one of the club’s darkest hours on Sunday when they travel to Villa Park.
Taylor was on the pitch that fateful afternoon almost two years ago when Newcastle dropped out of the Premier League on the final day of the season because of a deflected goal.
While that experience still haunts Taylor, and those involved that day, the defender insists the team’s primary focus won’t be revenge over a club which now finds itself in a similar position to United in their relegation season.
However, Pardew’s players are targeting the three points that would all but guarantee their top-flight status for another year.
And Taylor – who came off the bench in Newcastle’s last game against Wolves to set up the fourth goal – is just hoping to be involved.
“Villa’s an important game, and we’ll go there looking to take the three points,” Taylor said. “We all remember what happened there, but we don’t need any added motivation.
“We just want to finish as strongly as we can We’ve still got eight games to go now. There are games to be played, and I’m looking to getting involved in it.
“We’re confident. We’ll keep taking it a game at a time, and hopefully we’ll get the three points we need.”
Taylor spent much of last year in the treatment room, and he suffered a hamstring injury in December which ruled him out for six more frustrating weeks.
Now full fit, the 25-year-old is patiently waiting for a chance, with manager Alan Pardew having paired Mike Williamson with Fabricio Coloccini in his absence.
Taylor went on: “For me, I’ve got to keep my fitness up in training and the reserve games.
“I’ve been out for a while, and the gaffer’s been fantastic with us.
“I’ve come back and played eight or nine games, and been stiff. It does take a while to get back into it, and December time, my hamstring was stiff, and I got my injury.”
Meanwhile, Joey Barton won’t be automatically awarded a work permit for Newcastle’s pre-season trip to the United States because of his criminal record.
The midfielder will have to meet US immigration officials in London, who will then make a decision on a visa.