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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep, 27, 2006

Taylor targets UEFA Cup win at all costs

Steven Taylor is considering nothing but victory as Newcastle attempt to book their place in the UEFA Cup group stage on Thursday night.

The Magpies host Estonians Levadia Tallinn at St James' Park defending a 1-0 first-leg lead, and knowing a clean sheet will hand them a place in next week's draw in Nyon.

Local boy Taylor, 20, could only look on like the rest of Tyneside when, in August 2003, the club squandered a similar lead over Partizan Belgrade to miss out on the Champions League.

'The first thing in our minds is to win the game, it is as simple as that,' the defender said. 'It does not matter how we win the game as long as we come away in the next round.

'This club is massive and we need to be in this sort of competition.

'It is massive for this club to be involved in such a big European competition.'

Newcastle missed out on Europe altogether last season, and only qualified for the UEFA Cup this time around by way of the much-maligned Intertoto Cup.

However, Taylor is relishing the chance to fight for glory on the continent once again after having to sit by and watch derby rivals Middlesbrough make it all the way to the final at the end of the 2005-06 campaign.

He said: 'We did well a couple of years ago and against Sporting Lisbon - maybe we were unlucky.

'But this is what this club and what we want, to be playing against the best players.

'For me as a young player, playing against top, experienced players can only develop me.

'I thrive on opportunities to play against the best. It is great for the fans and the football club as well.

'It gives the whole club as lift when you have got a midweek game and you look who you are playing against.'

The match comes at the end of yet another difficult week for the Magpies following assistant manager Kevin Bond's departure on Tuesday.

Manager Glenn Roeder will have only coaches Terry McDermott and Lee Clark alongside him in the dugout tonight, but he revealed he will not appoint Bond's replacement immediately.

Roeder said: 'It was a surprise and there has been no time even to give that any thought whatsoever, not with the game coming up.

'It is certainly something I will not be rushing into.'

Full-back Celestine Babayaro will be missing with a groin injury, while Nolberto Solano is yet to recover from his hamstring strain.

However, Damien Duff and Charles N'Zogbia could be involved despite carrying knocks.

Shay Given is around five weeks away from a return following abdominal surgery, and Roeder hopes to recruit another keeper within the next 48 hours as cover for Steve Harper.

Pavel Srnicek, now 38, has been training with the club this week but former Rangers keeper Ronald Waterreus seems a more likely target.

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