FORMER Hartlepool United loanee Ryan Donaldson will run out at St James’s Park tonight hoping it isn’t his last appearance for Newcastle United.
Donaldson is in Peter Beardsley’s side for the Northumberland Senior Cup final against Blyth Spartans (7pm kick-off).
The forward is out of contract in the summer, and since returning from a loan spell at Victoria Park in March, the 20-year-old has been trying to catch the eye of Newcastle manager Alan Pardew.
Donaldson was on the bench for Saturday’s Premier League win over Birmingham City, and he was glad to have the opportunity to impress him.
“It’s a good chance for the gaffer to see us and make a decision, so I’ll get my head down and hopefully impress him,” Donaldson told SportMail.
“It was good to get back. I wouldn’t like to have come back with just a few weeks left.”
Donaldson won praise from Pools manager Mick Wadsworth after his two months at The Vic, and the striker-turned-midfielder felt he acquitted himself well after adjusting to the pace of League One football.
“I played a lot of games,” Donaldson went on. “It was a slow start, the pace was so different from what I’m used to, but once I got used to it I thought I did well.
“He seemed to be pleased with me, and I enjoyed it a lot. It’s important to impress people at this club, but it was great for me to go out and experience that.”
Meanwhile, the final sees Beardsley go head to head with one of his closest friends in the game, Blyth manager Mick Tait.
The pair crossed paths as players at Carlisle United, and were later reunited at Hartlepool, when Tait signed Beardsley after he left Fulham.
“He took me under his wing (at Carlisle), and I learnt a lot from him,” said Beardsley. “His attitude was excellent and he led by example.
“The only reason I joined Hartlepool was because of Mick Tait.”
Beardsley, however, is determined that his side comes out on top in the final.
“Our lads don’t get the chance to play at St James’s very often, and it’ll be a great occasion for both sets of players,” he added.