Steve Harper’s loan deal is in the balance

Steve Harper
Steve Harper
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NEWCASTLE United’s Steve Harper could be home for Christmas – as Alan Pardew is reluctant to farm him out for the festive period.

The goalkeeper completed his initial month’s loan with Brighton and Hove Albion this weekend as they fell 3-0 away to leaders Southampton.

Brighton manager Gus Poyet is keen to keep the hugely-experienced player – who lost his place in goal at Newcastle to Tim Krul this season – on the south coast until January.

While Pardew is willing to extend his loan, he’s concerned about the hectic Christmas and New Year fixture list, which is likely to take its toll on his squad.

Asked about the expiry of the 36-year-old’s loan, Pardew said: “I looks like (it will be extended for) the next month.

“If we get through the weekend, I’ll consider another month. I’m not sure if Brighton have asked yet, but I’m guessing they will.

“Whether I take him through the Christmas period, I don’t know. We’ve still got a lot of games.

“It’s benefitting both parties, and he’s got a big game this weekend.”

Harper – who has made 190 career appearances for United – has played four games for Brighton so far, with the Easington-born player keeping clean sheets in two of those fixtures.

Poyet’s side, promoted from League One last season, are 10th in the Championship.

Harper was signed to compete with former Leeds United stopper Casper Ankergren for a place in goal.

Another of Pardew’s senior goalkeepers, Fraser Forster, is on a year-long loan at Celtic, while Rob Elliot is providing cover for Krul.

Meanwhile, Nile Ranger has been given a chance to rebuild his career on loan at Barnsley.

The out-of-favour striker has joined the Championship club until January 14.

Alan Pardew said: “Nile needs to go out on loan, and needs regular games, to help his development as a footballer.”

Ranger – whose off-the-field discipline has been a concern to Pardew – is yet to make a first-team appearance for Newcastle this season.