STEVEN Taylor is ready to lead from the back for Newcastle United.
The club kicks off its pre-season campaign at Motherwell tonight (7pm kick-off).
As supporters wait on Alan Pardew’s first summer signing, Taylor and his team-mates have been working hard at Newcastle’s Benton training ground.
With the club having fought a grim season-long battle against relegation last term, the pressure is on Pardew and his squad to hit the ground running early in the campaign.
To do that, Pardew needs more players, and he’s hopeful there will be a transfer breakthrough this week.
In the meantime, there’s work to be done by those already at the club, and the squad trained on Tyneside yesterday under the guidance of Pardew ahead of the club’s visit to Fir Park.
And Taylor says there’s a determination in the dressing room to answers the questions that were asked of them last season.
“We know last season wasn’t good enough,” Taylor said.
“The fans want a reaction, and we want to perform and show them we need business.
“For the boys it was a big kick up the backside. It’s tougher every and that’s how it should be.
“The only thing we can do is stick together inside that dressing room.”
Taylor was linked with a summer move to Queens Park Rangers earlier this month as a makeweight in a deal for striker Loic Remy, but the long-serving defender is not for sale.
And the 27-year-old - who made his United first-team debut just over a decade ago - sees his long-term future as being at St James’s Park.
“I living everyone’s dream - I’m still wearing the shirt,” he said.
“I’m delighted to be back for pre-season. It’s my 10th one now. I’ve just got to keep kicking on.
“I’ve been here since I was nine. JC (John Carver) was my first manager. Now I’m here with him again.
“Like I’ve said before, I just want to be ready for every challenge that comes my way. Competition is high and that’s how it should be.”