It has been claimed that Rafa Benitez has recalled a number of his players out on loan in order to ‘thicken out their squad through this period’.

The claim has been made by Phil Parkinson after no agreement was reached between Bolton and Newcastle for Sammy Ameobi to stay in Lancashire until the end of the season.

Any further loan for the winger would effectively be his release from Newcastle United, as Sammy Ameobi sees his contract end in June and there is surely no way United will repeat their mistake of extending it once again.

At the moment there are only a couple of long-term injured in Gamez and Aarons, whilst Shelvey is suspended and Atsu, Mbemba & Diame are off to the African Cup of Nations.

It will be interesting to see if Parkinson’s claims have any truth, or whether he is just trying to portray Bolton in a better light to their fans.

When it was announced Sammy Ameobi was returning to Newcastle, at least temporarily, various media reported that the main reason for this was because Bolton had so far failed to pay the full loan fee for the first half of this season. With United understandably reluctant to make any agreement for the remainder of the season until that cash is paid.

Despite flying high and in the League One automatic promotion places, finances are clearly still a problem at Bolton Wanderers.

Even Phil Parkinson admits that he desperately needs more players, with only currently 16 available and that includes inexperienced youngsters to make up the numbers.

The likes of Ivan Toney, Sammy Ameobi and Jamie Sterry are all cup-tied after playing for their loan clubs in the FA Cup, so can’t be involved tomorrow at Birmingham.

So Monday 16 January at Brentford sees Newcastle’s next scheduled Championship game and interesting to see which of the returning loan players are still at St James Park by then and whether any make it onto the United bench.

Thursday brought news that Adam Armstrong won’t be one of them, with confirmation that he was staying at Barnsley until the end of the season.

Phil Parkinson:

“Sammy Ameobi has gone back (to Newcastle).

“It’s a shame and I don’t think it’s completely dead but they have called quite a few of their loan players back to thicken out their squad through this period.

“We’d like to thank Sammy for his contribution and we’ll see what happens on that one going forward.

“We’re also looking for players to replace him because we need to make sure the squad remains strong.

“We’ve only got 16 players training and that includes a couple of youngsters, so we are a bit threadbare when you take the injured players out.

“It’s possible that Keshi Anderson’s loan may end as well. He’s been ill so hasn’t trained.”