Toon on the home straight

Newcastle eyeing a sixth straight league win when they face Stoke

Ryan Taylor: The 27-year-old believes Newcastle have proved this season they are no longer a soft touch

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Ryan Taylor reckons continuing their impressive home form is the key to whether Newcastle United's Champions League dream will come true at the end of the season.

The Magpies have only lost twice at home this season and have confounded their critics to stay in the race for a top-four finish.

Newcastle, level on points with Tottenham in fourth and two points ahead of Chelsea, do not play this weekend as their Euro rivals battle it out in an FA Cup semi-final on Sunday and have a chance to recharge their batteries.

Their win at home to Bolton was their fifth on the bounce and has been timed perfectly to heap more pressure on their competitors who have both dropped points in recent weeks while Liverpool no longer present a credible threat.

Stoke are the next visitors and, with Manchester City the only other team to make the trip to their Tyneside fortress, Taylor believes maximum points in these games would go a long way to securing a continental football next season.

Achievement

"If you look at the squad we have, it's a squad that is no pushover anymore," he told the club's official website.

"We have got internationals all over the pitch and if anyone thinks they are going to play against Newcastle and expect an easy game, then think again.

"It's nice to know that teams are going to start fearing us, especially at home, because we have picked up a lot of points.

"We have only lost two at home this season, so it's going well and it would top it all off if we could get into Europe - that would be some achievement in one season."