By support

4th Jan, 2017 | 5:32pm

Confirmed: Club shortlist exciting Newcastle academy trio, competition expected

By Matt Farr

Kilmarnock boss Lee Clark is eyeing a move for young Newcastle goalkeeper Freddie Woodman this month.

According to the Daily Record, Woodman is one of three Newcastle players that have been added to Lee Clark’s January transfer shortlist.

19-year-old forward Callum Roberts and box-to-box midfielder Sean Longstaff join the Magpies stopper on the former Birmingham boss’ shortlist.

Kilmarnock are currently 10th in the Scottish Premiership, just four points clear of bottom-of-the-table Inverness, and have just one win from their last 10 league games.

Clark is eyeing several January reinforcements to improve his squad for the second-half of the campaign, and he hopes that the Newcastle trio can give his side the cutting edge needed for them to reinforce their bid to stay in the division.

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He admitted to the Daily Record: “There is interest from our side. They are good players who I know a lot about having watched them when I’ve been back in the north east.

“Freddie Woodman is one of the most sought-after young goalkeepers in England and I know he’s very well thought of in terms of the English FA.

“Cal Roberts has one of the highest assist tallies of anyone in the league, so we know what he can do. And Sean Longstaff has a good goalscoring record from an attacking midfield position, so we know what these players are capable of.

“We are looking at these players but there are five or six clubs both north and south of the border looking at them too.

“We haven’t got anything in terms of a deal in place yet so it’s very much in the early stages.”

All three players have been impressive for Newcastle’s academy side this season, and Magpies boss Rafa Benitez will likely see Kilmarnock’s interest as a fantastic opportunity for the trio to develop in a first-team environment.

Woodman has kept three clean sheets from 11 appearances, while midfielder Longstaff has a superb haul of six goals and three assists from just 10 games.

Roberts, lastly, has four goals and six assists from eight appearances.

Football Insider verdict

Lee Clark is keen on the trio, and is well aware of what they are capable of. Therefore, he more than anyone else, is perhaps likely to give the Newcastle trio the first-team football they crave. Allowing them to leave on loan would be the perfect solution for both parties. They have been performing exceptionally well for Newcastle’ reserve side, but they are not likely to get first-team opportunities this season with all the talent and depth already at Rafa Benitez’s disposal in the senior setup. The Scottish league has proven vital to the development of many young stars in the past – not just from Newcastle – and Woodman, Longstaff and Roberts can only benefit from the Kilmarnock interest.

In other Newcastle news, the Magpies are ready to offload this young star on loan this month.