Belfast Telegraph

Taylor eyeing European place

Derby hero Ryan Taylor is hoping victory over arch-rivals Sunderland can spark a late charge for Europe.

Newcastle's utility man joined the ranks of the exalted on Tyneside in August last year when he curled home the free-kick which handed the Magpies a 1-0 victory at the Stadium of Light. The sides will meet again on Sunday with the men from Tyneside hoping for a repeat of their 5-1 rout of the Wearsiders in the corresponding fixture last season.

Taylor told the club's official website, www.nufc.co.uk: "If we can beat them, then we open that gap up between us and the teams below a little bit more. We are a few points ahead of Liverpool and it's looking okay at the minute, but if we can beat Sunderland then, who knows? We can go on to bigger and better things. Europe is in our sights now."

The Magpies are currently in sixth place in the table, 10 points better off than their neighbours, although that margin would have been bigger had they not squandered a 2-0 lead against Wolves last weekend as Sunderland were losing 4-0 at West Brom.

However, they head into the derby unbeaten on their own pitch in five attempts this calendar year and are determined to extend that run.

Taylor said: "Yes, it was disappointing to lose a two-goal lead against Wolves, but at the end of the day, we didn't lose a football match and there were positives to take out of it into Sunderland.

"It's always tough to put together any sort of unbeaten run in the Premier League, but we have got a good one at home and we take it into the biggest game of the season for us so far.

"We want to keep that run going, keep our stadium a tough place to come, and that will be no different on Sunday."

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