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MARK VIDUKA finally gets his wish by playing at St James’ Park in a black-and-white shirt tonight – and he means to make the most of it.

 

He played a full part in United’s victory on his debut for the club at Bolton last Saturday but admits he was disappointed he did not mark it with a goal.

 

Now he goes in against Villa tonight on 149 club goals with Celtic, Leeds United and Middlesbrough since he left Dynamo Zagreb in 1998.

 

And he would love to make it a round 150 on his home debut – before he heads back to Teesside with United a week tomorrow.

 

If Middlesbrough fans had one complaint against the 31-year-old Aussie international striker in his three years at The Riverside Stadium, it was that on some occasions he seemed to find it hard to motivate himself.

 

But who could blame him with so many empty seats – something he will not experience now he has joined United.

 

And after quickly building up a rapport with the travelling Toon Army last week, Viduka admits: “I cannot wait to get out there tonight in front of those supporters.

 

“Our fans were magnificent at Bolton last week and I make no apologies for acknowledging them when they chanted my name.

 

“In fact, I must say that everyone is buzzing after last week’s win and I am hoping this has set the tempo for the rest of the season.

 

“But it won’t be easy for us tonight. I know as much as anyone what Aston Villa boss Martin O’Neill achieved at Celtic, especially as we share the same agent and I will be up against my old Parkhead colleague Stilian Petrov tonight.”

 

Viduka has had such an unusual build-up to the season with his involvement with Australia in the Asia Cup to such an extent that the striker and his manager are not sure what to do in the two-week international break next month.

 

Big Sam has Viduka pencilled in for a rest and holiday – but his signing isn’t so sure.

 

He added: “I’m new here and I might stick around and get used to the place and the rest of the players.”

 

Viduka is equally unsure about his international future, saying: “I am still deciding what I am going to do. I do love playing for my country, but it is taking its toll, both physically and mentally.”

 

Allardyce said of Viduka: “Mark has got all the qualities we are looking for and he can score double figures in goal terms.

 

“If he can reach the same level this season I will be delighted.

 

“His experience in the Premier League is what makes him so valuable for us.

 

“He is a consistent centre forward who can breach the tightest defences.”

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