ACCRINGTON Stanley are closing in on a loan deal for Newcastle United youngster Liam Gibson.

The 21-year-old is expected be signed in time to feature for the Reds against Bristol Rovers this weekend.

The left back played for the Magpies Under-23s in the Checkatrade Trophy clash with Sunderland last night, where he completed the 90 minutes, and Newcastle are happy to sanction his departure.

Stanley chief John Coleman is keen to strengthen his defence following Nick Anderton’s return to parent club Blackpool.

Ben Richards-Everton, naturally a centre half, filled in on the left of the back four against Ipswich Town last weekend while youngster Will Wood, who has recently returned from a spell on loan at non league side Havant & Waterlooville, is another option. The 22-year-old started for the Reds in their Checkatrade Trophy tie with Bury last night.

Michael Ihiekwe, who can also operate at left back, has returned to Rotherham United following his loan spell at the Wham Stadium although Coleman is keen to bring the 26-year-old back to East Lancashire.

And he remains keen to further strengthen his squad ahead of the second half of the season.

The Reds chief, speaking after the FA Cup win over Ipswich, said: “My focus now will be to get players in.

“We have to get reinforcements in, a lot of the loan players have gone back. We need to sign players.”