This is why the Gateshead squad are hailing impact of Middlesbrough goalkeeper

Gateshead star JJ O’Donnell has hailed the impact that on-loan Middlesbrough goalkeeper Brad James has made during his time at the International Stadium.
The Gateshead players celebrate. Picture by Charlie Waugh.The Gateshead players celebrate. Picture by Charlie Waugh.
The Gateshead players celebrate. Picture by Charlie Waugh.

For the second consecutive season, Boro sent one of their young stoppers for a temporary spell on Tyneside after James followed the path set by current number one Aynsley Pears during the 2018/19 campaign.

James had more than matched the example set by his fellow stopper and continued to play at key role for Mike Williamson’s side as he made three saves in their penalty shoot-out win over Brackley Town in a National League North play-off eliminator tie at the weekend.

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Gateshead will now travel to Boston United in the semi-final this weekend and the winners will visit either Altrincham or York City for the right to secure a place in next season’s National League.

O’Donnell reflected on James’ penalty shoot-out heroics and the performances he has put in during his season-long loan spell on the south bank of the Tyne.

The Heed stalwart said: “I said Brad before the shoot-out that he had been brilliant all season.

“I don’t know, if we get to the National League, he might be back next season.

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“But for me, as a goalkeeper, he has been on par with what Aynsley Pears did for us last season.

“You look at Aynsley now, he’s Boro’s number one, and I think Brad is just as good.

“He’s a terrific lad, a very funny, witty, likable lad.

“When we went into the shoot-out, I was so confident.”