Taylor has double vision: We've beaten Villa this season and we can do it again
23 May 2009 02:32
Newcastle defender Steven Taylor has challenged his team-mates to prove their doubters wrong by staging a final day escape.
The 23-year-old, who was born in Greenwich but raised on Tyneside,knows better than most just how important Barclays Premier Leaguestatus is to the Magpies, their fans and the whole city.
Confused about who's going to stay up? Let Sportsmail help you.Andy Townsend's Boot Room: Relegation, panic and sleepless nightsWhen he runs out at Aston Villa tomorrow, the club's 16-year stay in the top flight will be in severe jeopardy, and they know they need to return from Villa Park with at least a point if they are to stand a chance of overhauling Hull and escaping the drop.
However, while many observers are forecasting the worst, Taylor remains defiantly optimistic.
He said: "There is no reason why we can't do it.
"Some people think it's not possible - they can think whatever they want.
"We are the ones who can make the difference, and no matter who plays, they will give it everything in the tank.
"We have beaten them [Villa] already this season, so with the right team belief, like we showed against Middlesbrough, we will be okay."
An Obafemi Martins double saw Villa lose 2-0 at St James' Park on November 3, and a repeat this weekend could prove invaluable to Alan Shearer's men.
However, even that would not be enough if Hull managed to beat Manchester United at the KC Stadium and derby rivals Sunderland get the better of Chelsea at the Stadium of Light.
Much of the talk over the last week or so has surrounded the nature of the side Sir Alex Ferguson will send out against Phil Brown's men with the Champions League final looming.
Ferguson has confirmed he will rest most of his big-name stars, while Guus Hiddink could do the same with the Blues preparing for next weekend's FA Cup final.
But Shearer is confident whatever team United field, they will be looking for nothing less than victory, and Taylor agrees.
He said: "No matter what teams Chelsea and Man United play, they will want to win. They want to finish the season in style.
"Like all footballers, they will want to win. No matter if you are just coming through the ranks or an experienced pro, you win for pride."
For Newcastle, there will be much more than pride at stake, and that will be reflected by the passion of the travelling supporters who have followed their club all season despite being given little to cheer.
The Magpies have won only seven of the 37 league games they have played so far, just two of them - at Portsmouth and West Brom - on the road.
A third could prove priceless this weekend as they attempt to avoid a fate which would have been unthinkable just a few season ago.
Taylor said: "We want to send the fans away from Villa Park happy.
"We want them to go away for the summer and have a Premier League team to come back to.
"They have been brilliant all season. They mean so much to us and we want to give them something back."
If they are to remain a top-flight club, Newcastle will have to do it without several of their key players with injuries and suspension once again biting hard into their resources.
Defender Sebastien Bassong and midfielder Joey Barton are banned, while right-back Habib Beye has already been ruled out with a hamstring injury and skipper Michael Owen is losing his fight to recover from a groin problem in time for what would be his last game in a black and white shirt unless he signs a new contract.