NEWCASTLE United’s Haris Vuckic’s finally up and running – and the forward now has former club Cardiff City in his sights.
The forward opened his seasonal account in Tuesday night’s 5-1 win over Hartlepool United.
And Vuckic’s relishing tomorrow’s visit to the Cardiff City Stadium, where he spent a month on loan at the club last season.
Cardiff manager wanted to extend the 19-year-old’s stay in South Wales, but United manager Alan Pardew didn’t sanction an extension as he was needed back at St James’s Park.
Now firmly in Pardew’s first-team plans, Vuckic’s looking forward to renewing acquiantances on the pitch in Newcastle’s final pre-season friendly.
“I’m looking forward to Cardiff – it’s my old team,” Vuckic said.
“Hopefully, I’ll get a chance.
“It’s a bit wierd as I spent a loan at Cardiff. I think it will be a very good feeling.
“I had a very nice month there. I trained hard. The coach – Malky (Mackay) – was very good with me, and the players accepted me straight away.
“I was very happy there, but Newcastle needed me because a lot of players were injured. I needed to come back, but that’s football.
“After three weeks, I got injured. You never know what’s going to happen next.”
Vuckic came off the bench against Hartlepool for the second-half at Victoria Park.
And the Slovenia international made a quick impression, deftly lobbing advancing goalkeeper Scott Flinders after a deflected Hatem Ben Arfa cross dropped for him.
“I’m very happy that I scored,” said Vuckic. “This pre-season I had chances that I didn’t score.
“This moment came, and I’m really happy that the team won and that I scored.
“It was a bit hard. I didn’t even think what to do, but in the one second the keeper came out, I tried to chip.”
Injury-hit Vuckic was restricted to just five first-team appearances for United last season.
And the Ljublana-born player’s hoping to make a bigger impression this term, when more games are likely to mean more opportunities for those on the fringes of Pardew’s starting XI.
Newcastle’s pre-season has been geared, in part, to preparing the club’s players for a possible Europa League campaign - United have a two-legged qualifier later this month – and Vuckic’s upbeat about the team’s prospects.
“It’s been a very positive pre-seasonm,” added Vuckic. “We were focused on the Europa League games when we played the European teams.
“We were practising those type of games, which I think was very positive and successful.
“We won the tournament, as well. It’s all positive. We have to work hard, train hard and before focused for Cardiff and the start of the season.”