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Loan watch: A Christmas cracker from Clarky

Written by Dan King

How Newcastle United's loan men fared on Boxing Day, with a first goal in Sheffield United colours for Ciaran Clark but, sadly, an injury blow for Matty Longstaff...

Ciaran Clark

The Republic of Ireland international scored his first goal for Sheffield United on Boxing Day as the Blades kept pace with Burnley at the top of the Championship.

Clark - on a season-long loan at Bramall Lane - headed home from Oliver Norwood's free kick in the 52nd minute to put his temporary team two goals ahead in a match they went on to win 3-1.

It was his first goal in just over two years, with his last one in Magpies colours against Leeds United in December 2020, and it came in his eighth appearance for Sheffield United, who are managed by former Darlington defender Paul Heckingbottom. 

Isaac Hayden

Like Sheffield United, Norwich City are challenging for promotion from the Championship - but they suffered a disappointing result on Boxing Day, losing 2-1 to ten-man Luton Town.

Hayden replaced Liam Gibbs in the 75th minute to make his 11th appearance for the Canaries, who are in fifth place as they look to bounce back at the first attempt following relegation from the Premier League last term.

Kell Watts

Watts, 23, is on loan with Peterborough United until January and played the full game as the Posh drew 1-1 at Charlton. It ended a run of four straight defeats for Grant McCann's men and leaves them just outside the League One play-off places.

It was a ninth appearance of the season in all competitions for the Newcastle defender, who missed the opening weeks of the season through injury. He's yet to score, but hit the woodwork in the second half on Boxing Day.

Matty Longstaff

Another player whose season has been affected by injury is Longstaff, who made his first appearance in over a month for Colchester United on Boxing Day.

He came off the bench in the 82nd minute as the U's picked up a vital victory at Gillingham in League Two - but was stretchered off in the 89th minute.

And Colchester head coach Matt Bloomfield told BBC Essex: "It looks like it's a fairly serious knee injury to Matty. 

"The first question he said to me as we went through was 'did we win?' and that sums him up. He's the most dedicated, caring kid that you'll meet in terms of his football.

"He's had his hamstring since we've been in and it looks like he's done his knee, so I feel absolutely gutted for him. He's such a great kid - he's come on loan and he cares, and I just feel really, really gutted for him."

Longstaff has made ten appearances so far this term, with his spell at the JobServe Community Stadium due to expire next month.

Dan Langley

The young goalkeeper was an unused substitute as Gateshead won 3-0 at York City in the National League. He's made 12 appearances between the posts so far under former Newcastle defender Mike Williamson.

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