STEVEN Taylor hopes to wipe out the memory of his red card in last season’s opener against Manchester City.
Alan Pardew’s side open their Premier League campaign against the champions at St James’s Park on Sunday.
Long-serving Taylor was dismissed a year ago after catching Sergio Aguero with his elbow in the club’s 4-0 defeat to Manuel Pellegrini’s team at the City of Manchester Stadium.
The 28-year-old’s season didn’t get any better, with injury - and the form of defensive colleague Mike Williamson - restricting him to just nine league starts
Taylor is vying with Williamson and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa for a place alongside captain Fabricio Coloccini in the heart of Pardew’s defence.
Williamson, however, would seem to have the edge over Taylor and Yanga-Mbiwa, having started the club’s final friendly against Real Sociedad, which United won 1-0 thanks to a late goal from midfielder Moussa Sissoko.
For his part, 28-year-old Taylor, keen to put last year’s frustrations behind him, is just focused on being ready - if selected.
“Last year, what happened at Man City was very disappointing,” Taylor said.
“This year, everyone wants to get in the side for the Man City game. We’ll have to wait and see.”
Newcastle travelled further than any other Premier League club in pre-season - the squad flew 24,467 air miles - and Taylor feels the work done in England, Germany and New Zealand has prepared the players well for the new campaign.
United are looking to improve on last season’s 10th-placed finish.
“Everything we’re doing is gearing up to that Man City game,” said the former England Under-21 captain.
“The boys are putting the graft in on the training pitch. The boys haven’t moaned about the travelling. We’ve got on with it.”