MASSADIO Haidara is keen to finally get his Newcastle United career up and running – after putting an injury-interrupted first year on Tyneside behind him.
The defender is hoping to start Sunday’s home game against Manchester City.
Haidara missed the end of last season after suffering knee and thigh injuries under a challenge from Wigan’s Callum McManaman in March.
And the 20-year-old was sidelined for the first two months of the new campaign.
But Haidara is now fully fit, and determined to challenge first-choice left-back Davide Santon for a place in Alan Pardew’s starting XI.
“I’m very happy to be back out there,” Haidara said.
“It’s been a really tough few months with injuries, but now I can get out there and play normally.
“I want to help the team finish as high up the league as possible.
“Whenever the manager calls on me, I’ll make sure I’m ready and put in as good a shift as I possibly can. Hopefully, I’ll play as often as possible.”
Haidara made only his second start of the season in last weekend’s FA Cup defeat to Cardiff.
And the France Under-21 international, signed from Nancy a year ago, was one of the Magpies’ better performers on disappointing afternoon.
All the team now have to focus on is the Premier League, having been knocked out of the Capital One Cup by City in October.
Haidara – who feels Newcastle can challenge for a top-six place – isn’t fazed by the prospect of facing a team which demolished West Ham 6-0 on Wednesday.
“Manchester City is a different match in a different context in a different competition,” he said.
“We need to take it by the horns and really go out there and try to win it.
“We did it in the first half of the season against Chelsea and Tottenham – big teams – and there’s no reason why we can’t go out and do the same in the second half of the season.”