NEWCASTLE are monitoring Motherwell centre-back Mark Reynolds, The Journal understands.
United boss Chris Hughton was at the SPL outfit’s goalless draw at St Mirren on Tuesday night, when reports claimed his watching brief was on keeper John Ruddy, on loan at Fir Park from Everton.
However, with Steve Harper, Tim Krul, Fraser Forster and Ole Soderberg, the Magpies are well-stocked in that area, and it is believed Hughton was instead running the rule over 22-year-old Reynolds.
The Scottish Under-21 international’s presence in the Motherwell side has seen it concede just two goals in 11 league games and, with manager Craig Brown acknowledging interest from elsewhere, Reynolds has already been linked with Fulham, Blackburn Rovers and PSV Eindhoven.
Now it seems Newcastle – who are also understood to be tracking Livingston midfielder Andy Halliday – have joined the list of admirers of a player under contract until May 2011 and subject of a £750,000 bid from Rangers during the summer of 2008.
Motherwell rejected that offer out of hand, but Brown accepts Reynolds’ departure now appears simply a matter of time. “I don’t know about the Dutch but I know of interest from England because I’ve spoken to one or two managers who have asked me about him,” said Brown.
“I can only give him the highest possible praise – he is outstanding. He deserves a successful career at the top level.
“To go to England, the finance is totally different and it would be a good move for him.
“Not a good move for us but it would be a good move for Mark Reynolds and it would be churlish of us not to give him
that opportunity if it comes.” United have also been credited with an interest in Jamie O’Hara, the Tottenham Hotspur midfielder on loan at Portsmouth.
But while the St James’ Park club continue to scour the cut-price end of the transfer market in preparation for next season, 18-year-old Academy product Brad Inman is hoping his form for Alan Thompson’s reserve team – rewarded at this week’s annual Sport Newcastle awards ceremony with the ‘Wor Jackie’ trophy for the second string’s most promising youngster – could yet earn him promotion to the first-team set-up and save United some cash.
“We’ve got a good group of lads, all the second year are pushing through and most played on Tuesday night for the reserves, so that was good to see,” Inman said, after the reserves were knocked out of the Tynetec Northumberland Senior Cup semi-finals by Northern League outfit Whitley Bay.
“We’ve also got a couple of good youngsters at under-16 level, first years, coming through. So hopefully in the next couple of years you might see some breaking through to the first team.
“Thommo (Thompson) just says that in every reserve game, you don’t know who’s watching. If Chris Hughton and Colin Calderwood are watching and if you play well, there’s a platform and structure for us to progress, and train with the first team.
“He (Hughton) is normally focusing on the first team, they’ve obviously got a lot more to concentrate on in trying to get promoted. But him and Colin do tend to come down and take a session with us, and that’s good contact with them.
“It’s always good to get a training session off the first-team manager, just to see what that’s like.
“Hopefully I can just get my head down and work hard, make a permanent spot in the reserve team, then hopefully try and push on to be on the (first-team) bench more. I’ve just got to work hard to the end of the season and see what happens from there.”
Of his award, Inman added: “It was a good night and great honour to win the ‘Wor Jackie’ trophy. Peter Beardsley, Kenny Wharton, Alan Shearer and Steven Taylor were there, and listening to their stories from when they played back in their days is something you live for.”