Football - Dummett wants Saints stay

On-loan St Mirren defender Paul Dummett claims parent club Newcastle want to send him to the npower Championship next season - but he insists he is happy where he is.

PA Sport
Football - Dummett wants Saints stay
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St Mirren's Paul Dummett, lefr, has hailed his loan spell with the Paisley side

The left-back, 21, and Newcastle youth-team colleague Conor Newton were dispatched north to Paisley to gain top-flight experience and helped Saints land the Scottish Communities League Cup.

Their impressive displays have now convinced Magpies boss Alan Pardew to offer them both one-year contract extensions but they have been told another loan stint could be on the cards next term.

English second-tier sides Bolton, Huddersfield and Doncaster are all said to be interested in the pair and Newcastle want to see the players return south for the next stage of their development, but Dummett insists the Buddies are his preferred option.

He said: "If we sign up with Newcastle again I think the plan will be to go out on loan again. I don't know where though, that's not for me to decide. Newcastle decided to send me here to St Mirren so who knows what will happen next season. Newcastle think that England is a better league to play in, so they want me to go to the Championship.

"But my time at St Mirren has made me a better player and more confident because I've been playing week in, week out. I've played in front of big crowds at places like Celtic Park and in the cup final, something I'd never have achieved playing for Newcastle's reserves. It has gone well and I've loved it here. I would be happy to come back if I got the chance."

The declaration by Dummett - who arrived in Scotland last summer and has made 33 appearances for Saints - comes just days after Newton also announced he would be happy to sign on again with Danny Lennon's side. The midfielder followed his friend north in January before registering 17 appearances for Saints as well as a goal in the 3-2 League Cup win over Hearts at Hampden.

St Mirren are hopeful of keeping both players for another year and have secured an agreement from Newcastle that should the players reject offer of a new deal at St James' Park, the English outfit will waive their right to compensation for rearing them.

Eleventh-placed Saints now face Aberdeen at home knowing a win will hand them the chance to equal their highest ever SPL points tally of 43 when they face Kilmarnock on the final day of the season.

But Lennon insists the club must aim higher than the bottom six next term. He said: "After my first season I deliberately set the bar high to try to change the mentality of the club. For 25 years, our club has been fighting relegation. I want us to look beyond that survival attitude and show ambition to get into the top six. It can't just be little St Mirren any more."

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