Steven Taylor

In the third instalment of his new blog, exclusive to nufc.co.uk. Steven Taylor reveals all about the protective mask which could enable him to play while his broken nose heals, and also provides his thoughts of the club's successful open training session at St. James' Park...

It's been an unusual week for me since I broke my nose against Wigan last Saturday. I played on, but needed an operation to fix it and the last few days for me have been mainly about giving myself the best possible chance of playing in our next game against Stoke. 

Last Monday, I went to the hospital because I wanted it done sooner rather than later. I just wanted to get it out of the way and get the surgery sorted to straighten the nose, because it was bent all over the place.

Since then I've been taking it easy and getting the mask fitted ahead of our game on Monday, which I'm determined to play in if I can.

The mask offers me protection because at the moment, the nose is fixed and back to how I want it to be. The specialist, Jeremy Murray, came from Detroit and I've got to thank him for coming over here at short notice.

He came and spent a few days here, meeting the club doctor Paul Catterson and myself and then taking me to a place to get it all sorted and fitted for me.

It'll just give me that extra bit of confidence that I need. The fact that it's been fitted for my face makes it much more comfortable. I needed it done and I wanted it done properly. This is the best guy around and he's worked with top athletes. It was him who sorted Shola Ameobi out last season too and it worked for him.

I've spoken to Shola about it and that's given me confidence that it should work very well. Of course, it'll take a bit of getting used to because it fits so tightly to my face and it's not the most comfortable thing, but I'll see how it goes. I've just got to get used to it, I guess.

At Stoke, there's a fair chance the ball will be up in the air quite a bit but the thought of ducking out headers won't even cross my mind. I'll attack everything that's in front of me, and even in their penalty area I won't be afraid to put my head in.

If it breaks again, I'll go and fix it again! I'm not bothered about that. I've got a good few years left with this nose so if it gets broken, it gets broken - and at least I've got a top surgeon to fix it again!

Our unbeaten run ended at Blackburn on Wednesday night but it might not be a bad thing for us. It keeps us on our toes and makes us all the more determined to get back to winning ways and not suffer another defeat.

We've got to pick ourselves up because this is a different game and it's live on television. And as much as we're aware of the threat Stoke possess, they're going to have to be worried about what we've got to offer.

The players we've got in attack can hurt them and I think they're going to be more worried about us than we are about them, because we're going to continue to play like we have been all season.

On Friday, the club put on an open training session at St. James' Park and thousands of fans came out to watch.

I think they enjoyed themselves and one lucky fan even came on the pitch to train, dressed in black and white, which was great. It just shows what this city is all about. It was great to see the smiles on the kids' faces and hopefully we'll put on another good show for them on Monday.