The Newcastle U-18 team will be in action tonight in the first leg of the FA Youth Cup against Aston Villa at Villa Park.
Haris Vuckic – will be sub tonight for Newcastle U-18 side
Our Slovenian 17 year-old budding star Haris Vuckic will also be on the bench tonight in the game at Villa Park.
Of course, the 17-year-old suffered knee and ankle injuries representing Slovenia in an European U-19 Qualifier last October, and only returned as a substitute during last week’s Academy loss to Nottingham Forest.
Vuckic is very well thought of at Newcastle, and was signed when only 16 years old some 15 months ago.
The 6’2″ central midfielder has already showed tremendous promise at Newcastle, and Haris has impressed the Newcastle coaching staff, as well as some of our senior players.
The Slovenian made his first-debut in the Carling Cup tie at Peterborough on 22nd September, and is expected to come through quickly at Newcastle – we hope so in any case. 😀
The Ljubljana, Slovenia born player was signed from NK Domžale and has 3 appearances in the Newcastle first team so far this season.
We think Haris would have added to that record but for his terrible injuries he suffered last October, which kept him out of action for five months. We wonder whether the Slovenia FA paid any compensation to Newcastle for the injury – probably not.
Newcastle’s Academy manager Joe Joyce is pleased to welcome back Haris into his strong squad.
Joyce talked to the Newcastle official site today:
“Haris will start from the bench at Villa,”
“He’s coming back from a long injury but he was involved in our game with Forest last week and is starting to get game time.”
“But the longer we go in this competition the more he will be able to feature and it’s a boost to have him back.”
Newcastle have won the FA Youth Cup twice before in 1962 (David Craig, Bobby Moncur) and in 1985 (Paul Gascoigne), and they must have a decent chance of getting past Aston Villa to reach the finals where they meet the very strong Chelsea side.
The game tonight is an important game to say the least for our youngsters, and Joe Joyce has talked about the game today:
“There is a real steely determination among the squad and they realize the importance of this fixture – there’s a terrific bond.”
“That development from playing together over a period of about four years is coming to fruition now. They look stronger than ever and this run has been reward for their hard work.”
“But with that we have great ability and real talent all over the team. This is the latest step along their road to becoming professional footballers and it’s a good test to see if they can handle the pressure.”
“Any team that gets to this stage must feel they have a chance of winning the competition and we’re no different.”
“But no matter what happens at the end of the game the tie will still be alive and, over two legs, we fancy our chances against anyone.”
Sounds very much like what’s going on with the first team doesn’t it.
And it seems that Aston Villa’s Youth manager Tony McAndrew has done his homework on the Newcastle team, who have been in excellent form throughout their Youth Cup campaign.
McAndrew told the official Aston Villa site today:
“We need to remember that it is two legs and we need to make sure we are in contention after the first one,” “”That would be the only game plan – make sure we still have a chance after the first game.”
“I have seen them three times now, and they play in a certain manner,” “We need to set out our stall to make sure we do the right thing.”
“We will definitely have to stop them playing, don’t let the occasion get to us, try and enjoy it and play with a bit of freedom.”
“They are a good passing side, quite solid at the back and move the ball well through the middle of the team and they are quite dangerous up front.”
We’ll bring you a report on the game tonight – it kicks off at 7:00pm – and the second leg will be at St. James’ Part on Friday, 16th April.