Sunderland monitoring Newcastle United youngster ahead of summer swoop
Nathan Harker has returned to Newcastle United after his trial spell at Sunderland.
The stopper lined-up for the Black Cats in the Premier League Cup clashes against Huddersfield Town and Wigan Athletic, but has now returned to St James’s Park – and was on the bench for the Magpies’ under-23 side as they beat Swansea City.
Harker’s return to Tyneside does not necessarily signal the end of Sunderland’s interest, however.
On several occasions last season, the Black Cats took youngsters on trial from Premier League sides before seeing them return to their parent clubs, only to then secure their signatures come the summer. Ruben Sammut and Michael Collins, both of whom joined the club during last summer, are prime examples.
And Harker may follow a similar pattern, as he technically remains under contract with Newcastle until the summer despite being told he can train elsewhere.
Whether Sunderland make a move for the youngster once his contract expires remains to be seen, with Elliott Dickman yet to reveal the decision reached after his trial period.
But having been impressed with his early impact, the Black Cats are set to continue monitoring the 21-year-old.
“We’ve took that opportunity to bring him in and have a look,” said Dickman of the stopper, after his first trial appearance.
“Hopefully he does well and he enjoys it.
“When you get news like that [being released] it can be quite difficult to motivate yourself, but to be fair to Nathan since he’s been in he's been very professional.”