ALAN Pardew’s confident Haris Vuckic will be pushing for a first-team start on his return to Newcastle United – whether it’s next month or next season.
Vuckic, on an initial month’s loan at Cardiff City, is keen to spend the rest of the campaign at the Championship club.
The 19-year-old – who was yesterday called up to the senior Slovenia squad for the first time – marked his home debut against Peterborough on Tuesday night a goal.
And Pardew – who spoke to Cardiff manager Malky Mackay the day after their 3-1 win – believes the midfielder will return to St James’s Park a better player for the experience.
“I spoke to Malky Mackay on Wednesday morning, and he’s very happy with Haris,” Pardew told the Gazette.
“He had a start last weekend (against Leicester City), and came off at half-time. I think the pace of the division caught him out a bit.
“He was a lot better against Peterborough. He scored a good goal, and is up and running there now.
“I’m sure he’ll do very well for Cardiff. He’ll benefit from the loan.”
Vuckic has found his first-team chances at Newcastle limited by the form of those in front of him, notably Cheik Tiote, Yohan Cabaye and Danny Guthrie.
Vuckic signed a new long-term contract at United last season, and he knows there’ll be more opportunities for him at St James’s Park next term, when he’ll be a year older and wiser.
And Vuckic – who admits he’s still adjusting to the demands of the division – is keen to extend his loan, such is his keenness to be playing week in, week out.
“I really want to play,” he said. “I know Newcastle is my first team, but if I get chance to play for Cardiff on loan until the end of the season, that would be great.
“I’ve found it (the Championship) a little bit harder than the Premier League. In the Premier League, I had more time. Here, they tackle you straight away.
“You have to switch on and the mentality is totally different. Everybody works hard. It’s harder, but I’ll get used to it.”
Vuckic – who can play as an orthadox central midfielder, or in a more advanced role – has already impressed Mackay, whose team are third in the Championship and looking to earn automatic promotion.
“Vuckic is a footballer who has talent, can see a pass, and gets into great areas,” said Mackay.
“He’s calm under pressure, and I was delighted that he scored.
“The factors that will bring him on again are game awareness and adapting to the frenetic nature of Championship football. He’ll learn from matches, and by playing with players like Peter Whittingham.”
Meanwhile, defensive midfielder Mehdi Abeid’s set to follow Vuckic out on loan.
Pardew has high hopes 19-year-old Abeid, like Vuckic, will challenge for a first-team place next season.
“We also want Mehdi out on loan, but we haven’t found a club for him yet,” said Pardew.
Newcastle already have defender James Tavernier and midfielder Alan Smith on loan at League One club MK Dons.