Steven Taylor says his Newcastle side are ready to spring an early surprise when they take on Manchester City in their Premier League opener on Monday.
The 27-year-old believes the North-East club are much better prepared than they were last season, when they spent much of the campaign struggling in the bottom half of the table, eventually finishing in 16th.
The fixture computer has dealt them a tough start in 2013/14 in the form of a trip to the Etihad Stadium but Taylor is not feeling overawed.
The defender is confident his side can cause a shock against Manuel Pellegrini's men and get their season off to a flying start.
"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," he said in the Daily Mirror.
"The big games are what we look forward to. We've got Manchester City first game and, hopefully, we can catch them off-guard.
"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."