By Russell Edge

15th Mar, 2018 | 8:48am

Transfer battle predicted for 'quality' Newcastle midfielder by teammate - wants him to stay

Nottingham Forest midfielder Ben Watson has predicted a big transfer battle for the capture of Newcastle United outcast Jack Colback this summer but admits he wants him to stay at the City Ground.

The 28-year-old left St James’ Park in the January transfer window after being culled from the senior squad by manager Rafael Benitez during the first half of the season, the central terrier dropping back into the Championship to link up with Forest until the end of the season.

He has impressed with his new club, appearing in every match since his arrival, and now Watson says that while he would love for the flame-haired midfielder to remain at the club, he forecasts a battle royal for his signing come the summer window.

Speaking to the Nottingham Post, he said: “Jack has been brilliant. Since I have got into the team, it has been me and him in the middle.

“He is a quality player who has played at the highest level. I think everyone at the club would like to see him extend his stay beyond the end of the season.

“But if he keeps performing the way he is, I don’t think he will be short of offers in the summer. It will be Jack’s decision come the end of the season.

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“But myself and everyone else would love to see him at the club for longer.”

Colback has made eight appearances for Nottingham Forest since his arrival in the winter, while he has 102 Newcastle outings under his belt.

Football Insider verdict

Colback;s future at Newcastle looks bleak and if Watson’s prediction of a transfer battle is correct, then the Magpies might be able to snap up a pretty penny for his services. Still, after having been discarded from the first team reckoning without as much of a little afterthought, the Magpies may have to accept that their asking price will have to be lowered from a year ago, when he had been a regular in a Championship winning side. Is Forest the place for him? He certainly seems to have enjoyed his time at the club and is putting in some impressive performances, so turning a loan move into a permanent one does not seem out of the picture.

In other Newcastle United transfer news, another midfielder looks in doubt as the Magpies eye up a free signing in the summer.

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