SAMMY Ameobi has taken one step back in the Championship this term – so he can take two strides forward in the Premier League next season.
The Newcastle United forward has joined Middlesbrough on loan until the end of the season.
Ameobi featured regularly at home and abroad in the first half of the season.
But the 20-year-old has been squeezed out of Alan Pardew’s first-team squad by last month’s transfer-window signings.
And Pardew believes a spell on loan at the Riverside Stadium with Tony Mowbray’s promotion-chasing side will give Ameobi the experience he needs to challenge for a place next season.
“I want to help Middlesbrough – they’re a good club,” Pardew explained.
“Hopefully, Sammy can do what he’s set out to do. We’ve got the option of getting him some experience.
“It’s too soon, maybe, in this first team. But the experience will gain on loan at Middlesbrough will stand him in good stead for next season.”
Boro are seventh in the Championship and a point behind Brighton and Hove Albion, who are occupying the last play-off place.
Ameobi, the younger brother of long-serving Shola, came up through the ranks at United.
The pair became the first siblings to play a league game for the club since George and Ted Robledo in the 1950s earlier this season.
He scored his first goal for Newcastle in a League Cup tie at Scunthorpe United last season.