HARIS Vuckic is determined to help Newcastle United to a top-10 finish this season – having been helpless last season as the club fought relegation.
Vuckic is fit after recovering from the cruciate ligament injury he suffered last October.
And the 20-year-old, in the United squad for tonight’s reserve friendly at Gateshead, has looked sharp in pre-season.
Vuckic has had a wretched run of injuries, and is keen to make up for lost time.
The Slovenia international has been involved in all of the club’s five warm-up games, and he’s hopeful of being involved in the season-opener against Manchester City on August 19.
To do that, Vuckic must impress at the International Stadium, and in Newcastle’s final two first-team friendlies against Rangers and Braga.
“It’s a realistic aim to be in the top 10,” Vuckic said. “It’s a good aim. If we get further, it’s even better for us.
“It’s a good atmosphere in the team. We’ve trained hard from the start. It’s been good weather as well!
“The players are happy – that shows on the pitch.”
United fought a grim battle against relegation last season, with the club’s campaign having been compromised by a squad which was ill-equipped to fight on several fronts.
“Last season wasn’t the best of seasons,” added Vuckic, who scored in Newcastle’s pre-season opener against Motherwell.
“We had a lot of matches with the Europa League, and a lot of players injured.
“Now we’re just looking forward to the new season. Everyone wants to be stronger and do better.
“We have to be ready for Manchester City in the first game of the Premier League.”