By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Managing Editor
Steven Taylor is hoping for a very different set of circumstances when Newcastle United take on Manchester City on the opening day of the new Barclays Premier League season.
Facing the Citizens first up in 2013/14, not only did the Magpies fall to a disappointing 4-0 defeat but Taylor was also given a straight red card shortly before half-time following a clash with Sergio Aguero.
The long-serving centre-back then found it difficult to get back in the United starting line-up and made just 11 appearances in all competitions last term.
Now, with City arriving at St. James' Park on Saturday, 16th August, Taylor is determined to make amends for what he describes as a 'devastating' error.
"Last season all started in the worst possible way for me with the Manchester City game and that red card," the 28-year-old told nufc.co.uk.
"It was horrible. Getting sent-off there, I hated putting my teammates in it like that because it is a difficult place to play anyway.
"I got a three-match suspension and it killed me. After that I was in doing three (training) sessions a day, making sure I caught up on any sort of fitness that I was missing from the Premier League games.
"I was devestated and it hurt a lot.
"From that moment I was in and out and it was a very frustrating season for me.
"The most important thing, personally, is that I kept myself in good shape and fit, worked hard and kept my head down.
"I was just waiting for my chance again and was pleased to get it towards the end of the season."
Newcastle's stars return to their Benton-based Training Centre at the start of July for fitness testing, before undertaking a typically gruelling pre-season training schedule.
And after finishing tenth in the top flight last term, Taylor is determined to help his boyhood club improve on that this time around.
"It's a massive pre-season coming up for me and for the Club," he said.
"I want us to do well and it's important that we start well.
"Next season I have to kick on again, and I believe I can. There's so much I want to do here, and hopefully it's a good season for us."
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