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The Magpies have returned from relegation to the Championship to qualify for the Europa League and face Atromitos in the second leg of their play-off tie on Thursday evening

Newcastle United utility man Ryan Taylor has admitted that he can hardly believe the turnaround that the Magpies have experienced since they were relegated from the Premier League at the end of the 2008-09 season.

Alan Pardew led the club to sixth place in just their second season back in the top flight to secure qualification for the Europa League.

The 51-year-old manager's team face Atromitos in the second leg of their play-off match in the continental competition on Thursday, with the aggregate score at 1-1 after Taylor scored a trademark free-kick during the first match in Greece.

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"If you had said to me in a couple of years' time, Newcastle would be back on its feet, back into Europe and doing well in the Premier League, I would have snapped your hand off for it," Taylor told reporters.

"I have seen it all. I signed four months before we went down, so I have seen everything.

"I have seen quite a few managers in the short space of time since I have been here and it's great as it is now.

"We have got stability, we have got the fans back and we are playing good football and winning football matches, and that's the most important thing."

Taylor's prowess from set-pieces has become well-known on Tyneside, with his latest effort ensuring that Newcastle enter Thursday's match at the Sports Direct Arena on level terms.

"You practise these things quite regularly and they do tend to come off now and again and when they do come off, they are quite special," he enthused.

"They are quite special to me and the fans here love them every time they go in."

Pardew, meanwhile, was not anticipating a straightforward encounter despite Newcastle's home advantage as they seek qualification for the Europa League proper.

"They have got a couple of very good players, they have got players who can travel with the ball and that's always difficult for teams," he stated.

"The manager has got vast experience and that worries me a little bit."
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