He believes the Toon can cash in on the Champions League distractions of the big four and reach the Carling Cup Final.
"The squad is better than it was last year, and I think we've got more belief. We have more attacking options and when we concede goals we are capable of hitting back.
"We think we can go far in the Carling Cup - look at Birmingham last season.
"There's excitement about this competition - it's not just about the top four, who have a lot of Champions League commitments.
"The boss told us he wants to do well in this competition and we'd love to play at Wembley."