Newcastle loan players Alex Gilliead and Macauley Gillesphey had successful debut seasons in first team football.

On loan at Carlisle United last season, winger Gilliead was an instant hit whilst defender Macauley Gillesphey showed great progress once he settled in.

Carlisle boss Keith Curle was desperate for the Newcastle pair to return to Cumbria this season but has accepted that he has to look elsewhere.

Curle says that following discussions with Newcastle, he understands that Macauley Gillesphey is focusing everything on trying to impress Rafa Benitez and force his way into the first team squad now United have dropped into the Championship.

With Mike Williamson sold, Steven Taylor not having his contract renewed and Fabricio Coloccini trying to get a move to Argentina, United are looking very thin at centre-back once you look beyond Chancel Mbemba and Jamaal Lascelles.

In the case of Alex Gilliead, Keith Curle says he has been told that Newcastle are aiming higher than League Two for the winger. Rafa Benitez is expected to look for a League One side as a minimum level if he sends Gilliead out on loan again, though like Gillesphey the Newcastle winger will also be looking to impress in pre-season in the hope of breaking into the first team set-up.

Keith Curle speaking to the News and Star:

“We have had communications with Newcastle and the initial feeling is Alex Gilliead’s next progression is going to be at a higher level.

“With Macaulay, we’ve posted an interest, and the situation at the minute is that Macaulay has signed a two-year contract, and with Newcastle being relegated, he’ll be trying to be in and around the squad, until he’s told he’s not going to figure.

“Then it’s a case of asking if there is still room for him to be able to come here and progress here.

“If not, there will be other takers for him.”