Clark Concentrating On The Present
Ciaran Clark has "fond memories" of his long spell with Aston Villa - but he wants three points towards Newcastle's promotion push on Saturday
By Dan King - Newcastle United Managing Editor
Ciaran Clark spent 16 years, man and boy, with Aston Villa before his summer move to Newcastle and the Republic of Ireland international defender admits that he has "fond memories" of his long association with the Midlands club.
But he is more concerned about the present and the future as he prepares to make his first return to Villa Park in Saturday's televised Sky Bet Championship clash with the Villans (kick-off 5.30pm).
The 26-year-old has started two of United's last three games and his side has won both, keeping clean sheets on each occasion and scoring in the 6-0 win at Queens Park Rangers, so he will hope to keep his place this weekend.
Clark joined Aston Villa as an 11-year-old, making more than 150 appearances for the club, and told nufcTV: "It's going to be exciting to go back and see a lot of faces I'd been with for a number of years, and obviously it's a good occasion and a good game.
"It's where I started my football - I came through the youth set-up there and I can't thank the coaches there enough for bringing me through. I've got some fond memories, but when we get down there we'll just be focused on the game in hand and trying to get the three points.
"I think every time I put the (Villa) shirt on, I did give it my all and last season, it wasn't meant to be. We'll just be moving forward now and looking to things in the future.
"I feel like I'm settling in well. Everyone's made me feel very welcome and I'm settling into the place really nicely so I'm excited now for the future.
"Everyone's fighting for places and we've got a lot of quality in the team. It can only be a good thing in our bid for promotion.
"We know ourselves that we didn't play to our full potential on Saturday and we knew we wanted to put things right during the week, which we did, so we're all pleased about that. Hopefully we can take the confidence from that into the game this weekend."