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Barca test is ideal for Stu

Stuart Taylor

Stuart Taylor

Stuart Taylor believes that Wednesday night's friendly against Barcelona is the perfect way to keep the City squad on their mettle following the winning start to the season at Blackburn.

The goalkeeper, who joined the Blues this summer, flies out to Catalonia this afternoon with a strong Blues squad for a game arranged during a week where many teams are in action in the Barclays Premier League.

Everton's Europa League commitments saw their visit to the City of Manchester Stadium postponed, but that gap in the schedule has created a chance to play on one of football's great stages, one on which Stuart hopes to be given a chance to perform.

 "Going to the Nou Camp will be a fantastic experience,” he said. “It's one of the stadiums that would be nice to say that you've been there. It will be a first for me, it should be very special. I played for Arsenal in front of around 50,000 against Valencia in the Champions League quarter final a few years ago, a very hostile atmosphere but I'd like the chance to experience that kind of thing again in Barcelona.

"They are a great side, and this game should keep our boys switched on. It can only be good to put ourselves up against opposition as good as this and see how we come out."

The 28-year-old provides experienced back-up for Shay Given who earned rave reviews for a couple of crucial saves during City's 2-0 win at Ewood Park. The Irish international's display also received the nod of approval from his team-mate, who added:

"He didn't have a great deal to do, but he made a couple of very important saves when he had to that kept us in the game.

"Shay would probably tell you that he would expect to make the save he did in the second half, but the one in the first half (from Samba) was great save; he did so well to get down to his left and make it."

The former England Under 21 international is enjoying his new life with the Blues, and he has explained how goalkeeping coach Kevin Hitchcock achieves a balance between fun and hard work in his sessions with the keepers at Carrington.

He added: "Working with Kevin is fantastic, we enjoy it but he works us really hard as well. Every coach has their own methods, and Kevin is no different, he works us very hard but there is also the banter that keeps it lively. That keeps it fresh and you end up getting that much more out of a session.

"We know where the line comes between hard work and relaxing, when you're in the box you're working but when you helping from outside you have to concentrate just as much."

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