By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter
Last season's top scorer for Newcastle United under-18s, Dan Taylor, is hoping to claim the same honour this season after taking his tally up to five in Saturday's 4-3 win over Derby.
Whitley Bay-based Taylor, 18, scored twice against the Rams to move level with Adam Campbell and two behind JJ Hooper in the Academy goalscoring stakes.
He scored 14 goals in 25 starts for the under-18s last term, and was rewarded with a Reserve team debut against Arsenal at St. James' Park in March.
And although he scored only once in the juniors' first eight games this term, having played predominantly on the right side of midfield, the goals have started to flow for him once more in recent weeks.
Four goals in his last four appearances have helped the team stay top of the Premier Academy League Group D and now he's hoping to continue in that rich vein of form.
"It was a bit of a slow start but I've been playing on the right lately," Taylor told nufc.co.uk. "I've been contributing to goals, but it's nice to start scoring some again.
"Playing out wide has been alright. I'm happy to play there and it's probably helped me a bit in terms of my fitness. It's always good to learn different positions, and if I can score goals when I play there, it's even better.
"But I definitely see myself a striker and still see myself playing up-front. I think I play best there, but I don't mind playing on the right."
Taylor - who started the last Reserve game, a 2-0 win at Wigan, as a forward - might well have had a hat-trick on Saturday had he not headed wide from Ryan McGorrigan's cross shortly after opening the scoring.
"I was pretty disappointed - I thought I would have definitely scored that," he said. "But I still scored two so I was happy with that."
And Taylor revealed that there is some healthy rivalry between him, Campbell and Hooper in terms of finishing top goalscorer at the end of the campaign.
"Yeah, there is," he admitted. "I was a little bit disappointed on Saturday when JJ scored!
"I was happy for the team, but I was trying to catch him!
"I'm trying to beat last season; I got 14 so I'd like to get past that, and to try and play for the Reserves as much as I can. That's what I'm trying to do."