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Croatia's Balaban hopes to prove scoring touch

© Reuters 2002

ZAGREB, March 1 (Reuters) - Croatian striker Bosko Balaban hopes to put his rainy days at Aston Villa behind him with the arrival of new coach Graham Taylor, and reaffirm his scoring touch ahead of the World Cup.

"If I don't get to play I will most certainly insist on seeking another club, in England, Italy, Spain. But the way things are now, that option is not realistic," the 23-year old told Slobodna Dalmacija daily newspaper on Friday.

"I have discussed my position with Taylor... and he promised I would get a chance in the remaining games," he said.

Balaban, Croatia's top scorer in World Cup qualifiers, signed for Villa in August 2001. He suffered a disappointing season under former manager John Gregory, never starting a game in the premier league.

"First I was injured, then I never got to play. How could I have possibly reached top form?," he complained. "Scoring instinct is something you're born with and you cannot lose it. It's only your current form that can drop if you don't play".

Balaban has scored six goals in 13 games for Croatia, grouped with Italy, Mexico and Ecuador at this year's World Cup in Japan and South Korea.

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