STEVEN Taylor’s hopeful captain Fabricio Coloccini can lead Newcastle United to safety.
Coloccini made a timely return from injury against West Ham United at the weekend.
And the beleaguered club was given another lift last night when Wigan Athletic lost 3-2 to Swansea City.
The clean sheet Newcastle kept at Upton Park owed much to Coloccini’s renewed presence and leadership in the heart of a defence reeling from the 6-0 defeat to Liverpool a week earlier.
Coloccini’s absence had been keenly felt by United as the club lurched towards the Premier League’s relegation zone.
Time is running out for Coloccini, pictured, to lead the club away from trouble, with Newcastle having just two games left, with relegated Queens Park Rangers first up at Loftus Road on Sunday.
And Taylor, his long-standing defensive partner, is just relieved he is back in a black and white shirt after two months on the sidelines with a back problem.
“We have a great partnership together,” said Taylor.
“The defence against West Ham was very good along with the midfield. We needed that. The fans wanted a response, and they got one.”
If United beat QPR, Wigan would have to beat Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday night to have any chance of staying up at the expense of Alan Pardew’s side.
“We can only concentrate on ourselves,” said long-serving Taylor. “In the past two years they (Wigan) seem to do well at this time of the season, but we can’t rely on what they do.
“We just need to focus on ourselves. If we get three points, it could help put this to bed and move us up the table.”
The build-up to the West Ham game was dominated by talk of dressing room unrest, but Taylor – who has seen it all during his nine years as a first-team player – maintains Pardew’s squad is united.
“I’ve been here 10 years, and that’s what you get,” said the 27-year-old.
“People try to upset us and try to get in amongst the gaffer and the players. They mention the French players all week and the gaffer.
“One week you can be getting pats on the back, and within one game it can change.”