Steven Taylor is intent on cementing a permanent place in the heart of Newcastle United's defence.
With Mike Williamson injured for up to seven weeks, Taylor and Fabricio Coloccini are the only recognised central defenders in the squad which is bound to be a testing period for the Whitley Bay lad.
Taylor has proven he can cope with adversity as just 12 months ago his Newcastle future appeared very bleak.
Transfer listed, injured and close to the end of his current deal, the 25-year-old has managed to fight his way back and has appeared in all four of the Magpies' Premier League fixtures so far.
Taylor ended last season with three goals in the final three games and admits he is feeling fitter and stronger than ever.
The local boy is focused on the opportunity afforded to him and a chance to put the injury-plagued last two years behind him.
"I'm just happy to be playing - the more games you play, the more confident you get," Taylor told the Evening Chronicle.
"Last season was frustrating for me with injuries.
"I got a little run at the end of the season, but now I've had a few games in pre-season, we got a great result against Arsenal, Sunderland and Fulham, and we're doing OK.
"We've got to build on that now and keep it going."
Taylor also spoke of his admiration for the job done by Alan Pardew and his coaching staff so far.
"It's down to a lot of hard work," he added. "The coaching staff and manager have been absolutely spot-on.
"I've been working hard - that's all I can do. I've got to keep going."