By Dan King - Newcastle United Digital Editor
It's now just five days and counting until Newcastle kick off their Barclays Premier League campaign away to last season's runners-up Manchester City and Steven Taylor believes that the Magpies are up to the test.
A global television audience of millions will tune in as Alan Pardew's side travel to the Etihad Stadium on Monday night in what will be Manuel Pellegrini's first competitive match in charge of the Blues.
Not only do they have a new manager but the likes of Fernandinho, Alvaro Negredo and Stevan Jovetic have all joined this summer and Taylor is aware that they may take time to adapt to life in England.
So far from being afraid, the defender feels that this might just be the perfect time to face one of the title favourites as the world watches.
"That's what you want to play for - it's the whole point of being a professional footballer," he told nufc.co.uk. "The big games are what we look forward to.
"We've got Mancheser City first game and hopefully we can catch them off guard."
Over the last three seasons, Newcastle have faced Manchester United, Arsenal and most recently Tottenham on the opening weekend, with one win, one draw and one defeat from those difficult fixtures.
Last season's 2-1 win over Spurs in Andre Villas-Boas' first match proved to be something of a false dawn for the Magpies, who went on to endure a mixed campaign, but Taylor has been impressed with a pre-season schedule which has seen United lose just once.
And he vowed: "I think what you're going to find on Monday is a fitter Newcastle United team compared to last season, and hopefully we can show that and produce the goods on the pitch.
"As players, along with the manager and staff, we were disappointed with our performances last year. We didn't hit the grade that we wanted to and hopefully this year we can hit the ground running, starting with Man City in the first game."
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