Intriguing North East manager response after Newcastle United midfielder's loan to Colchester United
The 22-year-old midfielder had been linked with a potential loan switch to League One with Barnsley after a decent six months with Mansfield Town in the second half of last season where he scored six times in 18 appearances.
Instead, however, Longstaff penned a loan deal in Essex with Colchester and made his debut for the U’s in the 1-1 draw with Hartlepool United at the weekend.
But the question you have to consider from a Hartlepool perspective is how a player such as Longstaff can slip through the net given their location to the Magpies in the North East.
Pools boss Paul Hartley was keen to strengthen his side throughout deadline day, particularly in the forward areas, but should the possibility of acquiring a player such as Longstaff appear, you wonder whether the opportunity was approached.
Longstaff drifted in and out of the game with Pools, collecting a yellow card for good measure, but asked whether it was frustrating to see the likes of the Magpies midfielder move to the other end of the country rather than 30 miles down the road Hartley admitted it was disappointing.
“Yeah we’ve got to look to try and get better relationships with the local teams,” Hartley told The Mail.
“We’ve not had that relationship over the years for various reasons but we have to make sure we get tighter with these teams.
“We’re a local club to some big clubs up north and it is disappointing to see players coming four or five hours on the road. But that’s part of our job to try and structure the club in that way.”
Pools completed business with the Magpies’ North East rivals Sunderland earlier in the window when bringing in youngster Ellis Taylor on loan.
Pools are understood to have sought a deal for Newcastle’s Joe White over the closing weeks of the transfer window before a deal was not reached.
But with Longstaff having now twice moved to League Two on loan, and neither of those deals being with Hartlepool, it suggests there remains work to be done on those relationships.