HARIS Vuckic’s set for a role in Newcastle United bid for European football after Alan Pardew blocked a loan return to Cardiff.
Vuckic spent a month at the Championship club, and Bluebirds manager Malky Mackay was keen to take him back until the end of the season.
But a rash of injuries to Pardew’s squad ended Mackay’s hopes of securing the highly-rated midfielder, who had impressed in his five appearances for Cardiff, who are pushing for promotion to the Premier League.
And the 19-year-old, an unused substitute in Newcastle’s last two games, is likely to see an involvement in sixth-placed United’s remaining nine fixtures, which it’s hoped will yield a Europa League place.
Vuckic could also feature for United’s reserves against Chelsea at Whitley Park tonight (7pm kick-off).
Asked if he would consider farming out Vuckic before the Football League’s loan deadline, Pardew told the Gazette: “No chance – not with the injuries we’ve got.”
Pardew considered sending Vuckic on late in Sunday’s 1-0 win over Norwich City, only to opt to field Dan Gosling.
“He’s looked good in training, and I did think about putting him on,” added Pardew.
“But I thought that would’ve been a bit unfair on Dan Gosling, who’s worked hard in training and not had a chance. It was nice to see Dan on the pitch.”
Pardew, keen for Vuckic to gain valuable first-team experience ahead of next season, was open to loan extension at the Cardiff City Stadium.
However, recent injuries to the likes of Cheik Tiote and Ryan Taylor necessitated him staying at St James’s Park as cover, a decision which Mackay fully understands.
Mackay said: “Newcastle have picked up injuries in the last week which means he now has to be on their bench.
“We obviously wanted to keep him. He’s a talented individual who’s going on to do very well in his career. Sometimes these things happen, and Newcastle had three injuries that they didn’t legislate for.
“Haris is a terrific young lad. He’s going to be a real talent.”
Meanwhile, admission to Whitley Park for tonight’s reserve game is £3 for adults and £1 for concessions.