Can Sammy Ameobi return to have an impact at Newcastle?

The 24-year-old scored his first goal for Bolton last night, but is set to return to Tyneside in January.

Newcastle United's Sammy Ameobi (R) and Liverpool's Andre Wisdom in action

Newcastle winger Sammy Ameobi scored his first goal for his latest loan side this week, hitting the winner for Bolton in their 1-0 win over Blackpool in the Checkatrade Trophy. 

It may not be the grandest stage - just over 1500 people were in attendance at the Macron Stadium as fans continue to turn their backs on the rejigged competition - but getting off the mark should give the winger confidence as he looks to find his way into the Trotters starting XI on a more regular basis.

Ameobi has appeared six times for Phil Parkinson's side this season, but only two of those have been made from the start. He has instead been forced to settle primarily for cameo roles in the closing stages despite Bolton's form falling away after a strong opening to the season.


Newcastle's Sammy Ameobi (L) in action with West Brom's Cristian Gamboa

Having made his debut for Newcastle in 2011, Ameobi's early performances offered promise. His pace was an effective asset, while his rangy dribbling looked clumsy at times but often proved effective. A fine individual winner against Scunthorpe in the League Cup in 2011/12 illustrated his talent, and Sammy appeared well set to keep the name Ameobi on the Newcastle teamsheet long after the impending retirement of his brother Shola. 

Five years down the line, his future on Tyneside looks far less certain. Largely unsuccessful loan spells at Middlesbrough and Cardiff have been and gone, and his only two league goals in 54 apperances for the Magpies came two seasons ago.

How has a player gone from making a full league debut at the Etihad and playing in the Europa League aged 20 to struggling to get a game in the third tier? As seems common in tales of falls from grace, injuries have played their part - a knee problem sustained in January 2012 ruled him out for the rest of his breakthrough season, and he has never quite played with the same confidence since.

QPR's Joey Barton (R) and Sandro in action with Newcastle United's Sammy Ameobi

Alan Pardew can also take a share of the blame. A manager who emphasises hard work over flair - witness his treatment of Hatem Ben Arfa at St James' Park - saw Ameobi's creativity and trickery stifled in favour of defensive duties, while the team's nosedive in form which followed their fifth-placed finish in 2012 didn't help the young winger's cause.

Ultimately, he has been held back by the infuriating inconsistency that also plagued his older brother's Newcastle career. Both Shola and Sammy were capable of looking like occasional world beaters and put in performances that didn't look out of place at the highest level, but would return the following week cutting anonymous figures.

With his contract ending next summer this latest loan move to Bolton looks as if it will be make or break, and he will have to build on his goal tally if he is to come back and play a part for Newcastle. At 24 he is now arguably too old to still be described as a 'prospect', so now is the time to start delivering and proving that he can return to play a role at his hometown club.

Newcastle United's Yoan Gouffran is proof that players can return from the wilderness to star

He will certainly have his work cut out to return to the fold in Rafael Benitez's revolutionised Newcastle squad. Their strength in depth is the envy of every other Championship club; Ameobi would have to force his way past Matt Ritchie, Christian Atsu, Yoan Gouffran and Rolando Aarons to find a starting berth on the wing.

Gouffran is evidence that players can return from the wilderness to star; from being on the receiving end of heavy criticism for much of the past two seasons, the Frenchman has returned to play a key role in Newcastle's promotion challenge. The road to redemption looks as if it will be bumpier for Ameobi, however, unless he starts to make a far greater impact in League One.

Do you think Ameobi can make a successful return to the Newcastle fold? Leave your thoughts below.

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