The last possible reliance this season on younger players come through the ranks, ended on Thursday afternoon with the confirmation that Adam Armstrong is going to spend the rest of the season with Barnsley.
It was always going to be tougher for the Geordie striker this season after hitting 20 in League One with Coventry last time, scoring three so far this season in the Championship with Barnsley, after making nine league starts and five off the bench.
Nevertheless, the 19 year old was by some distance the only possible returning loan player who Rafa Benitez could have thought about relying on, in this second half of the season promotion push.
The other loan players have mainly been playing in League Two, whilst in League One Haris Vuckic struggled to get a game for Bradford.
Jamie Sterry and Ivan Toney were turning out for the clubs third and second bottom of League One, whilst Sammy Ameobi has shown some form for Bolton this season but a long way from what is needed at the top of the Championship. Plus it looks clear that the winger will be leaving permanently in this window, whether it is at Bolton or elsewhere.
Good luck to Adam Armstrong and hopefully he can score a few goals against the likes of Brighton and Reading to help Newcastle to promotion.
LOANS THIS SEASON:
Jamie Sterry (Coventry)
Sammy Ameobi (Bolton)
Ivan Toney (Shrewsbury)
Haris Vuckic (Bradford)
Kyle Cameron (Newport)
Tom Heardman (Hartlepool/Newport)
Alex Gilliead (Luton)
Liam Smith (Crewe)
Barnsley Official Statement:
We are delighted to confirm that the striker has extended his loan spell with Barnsley Football Club until the end of the 2016/17 season.
Having initially joined the Reds in August after turning down multiple offers from other Football League Club’s, Armstrong will continue to wear the number 32 shirt until the end of the 2016/17 season.
The forward has been a big part of the Reds success so far during this campaign upon our return to Championship football, most recently by setting up the winning goal for Conor Hourihane away at Nottingham Forest.
A stunning and vital late winner away at Preston North End on Armstrong’s debut helped to introduce him to the fans and also won him September’s ‘Sky Bet Goal of The Month’ award.
It wasn’t long before Armstrong continued to show his eye for goal with another superb effort, volleying home from outside the box against Reading at Oakwell.
The on-loan forward continued to play a key role in Hecky’s starting line-up when the Reds visited Griffin Park to take on Brentford. A fantastic 2-0 win followed, with Armstrong opening the scoring midway through the first half.
Reds Head Coach Paul Heckingbottom spoke of his delight after completing the Club’s first piece of business in the January transfer window.
“We’re really pleased to be able to keep Arma (Adam Armstrong) at Oakwell until the end of the season.
“He’s really bought in to what we are trying to do here and worked hard, which is what we need at the Club.
“He obviously came in and scored a great goal on his debut and has gone on to help the team from there to get to where we are. He picked up a slight knock recently but I was really pleased with his comeback against Nottingham Forest and it gives us another much-needed option up-top.
“I’d like to thank Rafa Benitez and Newcastle United for allowing Adam to extend his stay here and it goes to show that other top Club’s trust us to look after their players and help to develop them further, as well as helping us.”