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Coach Glad With Blossoming Brad

NUFC Logo Newcastle United FC

Willie Donachie has praised in-form Bradden Inman after the midfielder scored his fifth of the season against Sunderland on Tuesday night

By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter

Willie Donachie watched Bradden Inman plunder his fifth goal in four Barclays Under-21 Premier League fixtures and admitted that the Australian youngster is beginning to live up to his potential.

The 20-year-old was compared to Brazilian star Kaka for both his looks and playing style when he first broke through to the fringes of the Magpies first-team almost four years ago, making the bench for a top-flight fixture at Manchester City, but has since seen his progress stall.

However, he signed a one-year contract extension in the summer and has started the current campaign like a house on fire. He struck in the 6-4 opening day victory over Tottenham, then hit a hat-trick in the 5-1 win at Stoke before finding himself in the right place at the right time on Tuesday night after Sunderland keeper Jordan Pickford dropped Adam Campbell's cross.

Reserve Team Manager Donachie has been impressed by the Adelaide-born midfielder's form so far - and has urged him to keep it up and force his way into the thinking of first-team boss Alan Pardew.

"He's maturing," Donachie told nufc.co.uk. "He's working hard. He's always been a good goalscorer, he's technically good and very fast.

"I just hope he continues and gets a chance."

Inman's goal levelled matters after Connor Wickham had given the Black Cats the lead, and Adam Campbell's deflected shot put Newcastle in front before Wickham's second of the night meant derby honours ended even.

And even at second-string level, Donachie admitted that it's important not to lose to the Wearsiders who were managed by former player Kevin Ball and included the likes of Louis Saha, David Vaughan, Matthew Kilgallon and Dong Won Ji.

"It means a lot, especially to the home-grown players and there were quite a lot there," he said.

"When you're playing in front of fans who are partisan and want you to do well, that's got to lift you. When they're shouting your name - Adam, Sammy (Ameobi) - that's got to lift you.

"It was a great, exciting game with lots of chances for both sides and for our team, it was a great experience.

"It was a fantastic pitch, a big crowd and they were playing against some experienced international players so it was a big learning curve for our lads.

"Ours were a bit younger; there's only Dan Gosling who was over 21 and they had probably four internationals in their team. But that's great experience for our young player - it's the only way you learn, by playing against good players and playing with good players, so it was a good night."