Newcastle United goalkeeper Nathan Harker has remained in training with the club despite sealing a loan move to Blyth Spartans.
The highly-rated 20-year-old has impressed during his first games at the Conference North club, earning man of the match on Saturday against Hereford.
In an interview with the Chronicle, Harker revealed the advice he had received from senior Newcastle keepers after admitted he didn’t know what to expect once departing the club.
“I am still training at Newcastle and I have come into this not knowing what to expect really,” he said.
“All of the keepers at Newcastle are very helpful, and they have had experience of loans at this level earlier in their career. They all told me not to underestimate the standard of football and they were right.”
Harker played 16 games for the under-23’s squad last season and conceded 25 goals as he only managed to keep five clean sheets in his time between the sticks.
It seems strange that despite a player being loaned out, he still remains with the club. In terms of development, Newcastle have most likely played a masterclass with Harker – who will get the opportunity to get valuable game time in the senior game but also learn from some of the best at his parent club. It seems to be working too, with Harker in the middle of everything at Blyth, who despite having lost their opening four games of the season are giving the 20-year-old the opening he needs. The four losses also mean that he will be getting bombarded in games through an evidently fragile defence – something that he may feel flustered at, but something that is going to help him massively going forward. Having conceded 25 goals in 16 games last season, Harker needs to start to try and rack up some clean-sheets which will fill him with confidence and class his time away from the club as very successful.