Newcastle midfielder Dan Gosling is refusing to be daunted by a tough start to the new Barclays Premier League campaign.
The Magpies get their season under way against Arsenal at St James' Park before making the short trip to the Stadium of Light for an early derby clash with arch-rivals Sunderland. They took four points from both clubs last season, one of them in a remarkable 4-4 draw with the Gunners at St James' Park in which they had trailed 4-0 at half-time.
There have been major changes in the dressing room since, with inspirational skipper Kevin Nolan having departed during the summer, but Gosling is confident heading into the difficult double-header. He said: "It's very tough, but every Premier League game is tough and it's always difficult to get the three points."
He added: "If you look across the fixtures, everyone is probably thinking they have got a tough start to the season, and we are in the same boat.
"You have to play everyone anyway, so it doesn't matter when it is, but hopefully we can get a positive result.
"We had two positive results last year against Arsenal, so hopefully we can do it again."
Gosling will hope to make just his second appearance for the club he joined from Everton last summer after finally shaking off the knee problem with which he arrived.
There could be several even newer faces with Yohan Cabaye, Gabriel Obertan, Sylvain Marveaux and Demba Ba also in contention, although Marveaux in particular is short of match fitness.
Manager Alan Pardew, of course, will be without influential men Nolan and Jose Enrique, who has completed his move to Liverpool, but he knows opposite number Arsene Wenger is facing similar problems with the futures of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri still the subject of intense speculation.
He said: "We won't have the depth of experience we had, perhaps, but that can be made up for in exuberance and no lack of ability, so I am looking forward to it."