NEWCASTLE United’s players are ready to hit the ground running in the Premier League – with the backing of a sell-out crowd.
That’s the verdict of defender Steven Taylor ahead of this evening’s home season-opener against Tottenham Hotspur (5.30pm kick-off).
Taylor and his team-mates have come through a gruelling pre-season campaign which has taken them across Europe.
Newcastle, missing a quartet of key players, were beaten 4-1 by Cardiff City in their final friendly last weekend.
And manager Alan Pardew has a number of injury concerns, including Yohan Cabaye and Demba Ba, ahead of the visit of Andre Villas-Boas’s side
However, Taylor is confident United will be more than capable of getting a result – whatever team takes to the field.
“The players we’ve got have shown their quality in pre-season,” Taylor said.
“This is the game that we’ve been working towards since we came back.
“We know it’ll be tough – all games in the Premier League are tough – but we’ll be ready.
“The lads are a tight-knit group, and the new signings have fitted in well. The togetherness we have is there for all to see.
“We’ll have our fans behind us, and we’ll be looking to start well.”
The game is particularly significant for Taylor, who hasn’t kicked a ball in the top-flight since December, when he ruptured his Achilles.
Taylor suffered the injury against Chelsea, then managed by Villas-Boas.
The 26-year-old’s now fully fit and desperate to again run out at St James’s Park, which is expected to be sold out for the televised game.
“For me, personally, I can’t wait to be back out there, if selected,” added the former England Under-21 captain.
“It’s been so long, and I just want to get out there and do my job.”
FORMER Newcastle United midfielder and Pools loanee Ryan Donaldson, 21, has joined Gateshead until January.