News this morning that Newcastle defender Paul Dummett is set to be offered a new and improved contract by the club.

Only 19 months ago (November 2013) the United player signed a long-term deal that tied him to the club for as long as six years.

However, the Shields Gazette say that their information is that Dummett will be given a better deal in recognition of his progress and the fact he is now a first team player.

The newspaper also report that the Geordie defender will take over the number 3 shirt following the departure of Davide Santon, trading up from number 36. This being further confirmation that he is seen as a first choice player now.

Whilst Paul Dummett is a wholehearted player and has got some ability, I think most Newcastle fans would see him as a squad player rather than a choice for the first eleven.

Ideally a new left-back would come in ahead of both Dummett and Haidara, who didn’t convince last season.

If Paul Dummett is in the first team, then I think supporters would far prefer to see him in the middle of defence, where he easily outperformed the failing experienced trio of Coloccini, Taylor and Williamson.

What isn’t up for debate is that Newcastle’s defence needs to show major improvement after year on year being a weakness to the team, last season conceding more goals (63) than every other Premier League club apart from QPR.

Hopefully Steve McClaren and his new coaching team will be a major step up on what has gone before and bring out improvement in the players already at St James Park, maybe even properly defend and attack the off set-play…

However, the thought of going into the new season without any significant defensive signings, preferably a minimum of two, is unthinkable.