Exclusive: Middlesbrough goalkeeper Brad James discusses promotion aspirations with Gateshead ahead of play-off clash

Middlesbrough youngster Brad James is determined to help loan club Gateshead secure an immediate return to the National League.

Saturday, 18th July 2020, 8:00 am
Middlesbrough goalkeeper Brad James has impressed on loan at Gateshead this season.

The young goalkeeper has spent the season on loan at the International Stadium – although his time on Tyneside looked to have been prematurely ended when the coronavirus epidemic curtailed the campaign.

However, the National League’s decision to go ahead with the play-offs in all three of their divisions and to calculate their final standings on a points per game basis has seen Gateshead handed an unexpected opportunity to return to non-league’s top tier.

James will now be part of a Heed squad that will travel to Brackley Town on Sunday in the eliminator round of the play-offs and a win would set up a semi-final visit to Boston United.

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The Boro stopper admitted that he thought his time at the club was over but is now keen to help Gateshead overcome a difficult test at St James Park.

He told The Mail: “I was delighted to get the call to come back to Gateshead.

“It was a surprise; I thought the season was done when we all went into lockdown.

“But I was over the moon when the statement was released saying that the season would be played to an end and that we were in the play-offs.

“I am buzzing to be here again, and I can’t wait for Sunday.

“I hated the time off, but now we are back in the routine.

“You can’t put into words just how important the game is for everyone at the club and it’s great to be part of it.”

James had been in regular contact with Middlesbrough goalkeeper coach Danny Coyne throughout his time at Gateshead.

The youngster has impressed and has kept 17 clean sheets in the 34 appearances he has made for a Heed side managed by former Newcastle defender Mike Williamson

James has received “positive feedback” from Middlesbrough and stated his belief that his stint on Tyneside will add his long-term development.

“Middlesbrough have had their season to worry about, but it looks as if they should be safe now.

“I have kept in touch with Danny Coyne, the goalkeeper coach and a few others around the club.

“I have had positive feedback on what I have done at Gateshead and it was a no-brainer to come back and play in the play-offs.

“For myself, the experience I have had here, is unbelievable, it’s really helped me develop as a goalkeeper and I think Middlesbrough appreciate that.”

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