NEWCASTLE United boss Eddie Howe admitted it was "disappointing" to see Freddie Woodman struggle for game-time during his loan spell at Cherries, but acknowledged Mark Travers as an "outstanding goalkeeper".

Woodman had originally been set to join Cherries last summer, only for an injury crisis at the Magpies to scupper that deal, with the former England under-21 international staying put and playing games for the Tyneside outfit.

However, Cherries returned to snap up Woodman on loan in January, following an injury to backup stopper Orjan Nyland.

Woodman quickly made his debut, but could not prevent an embarrassing 1-0 defeat to non-league Boreham Wood in the FA Cup.

That proved to be the final appearance for the 25-year-old, who played second fiddle to Travers for the remainder of the season.

Republic of Ireland international Travers enjoyed a scintillating season at Cherries, winning three end of season club awards, including the Daily Echo/Micky Cave player of the year, as well as the Championship's golden glove, for keeping more clean sheets (20) than any other goalkeeper in the division.

In quotes reported by the Northern Echo, discussing Woodman's future at Newcastle, former Cherries boss Howe said: “Goalkeeper is the hardest position in the sense that Freddie went on loan, but I know Mark Travers very well, and he’s an outstanding goalkeeper.

“His game probably kicked on to another level from having Freddie behind him, so it was difficult for Freddie to get any game-time, which was obviously a disappointment for us and for him.

“He’s an outstanding young goalkeeper. We’ll be sitting down with Freddie to discuss what his next step is. But at this moment in time, it’s difficult to say.”

Looking ahead to his squad plans for next season, Howe added: "There’s some difficult decisions to be made, and when you look at the numbers in the squad, we are top heavy.

“We do have a lot of players, there are players that missed out on the 25.

“But as I’ve said before, when we make decisions on every individual, we try to do it in the right way. No decisions have been made as yet. For me, towards the end of the season, you get the games out of the way, then I’ll be speaking with the players.”

As well as Woodman, Newcastle have Martin Dubravka, Karl Darlow and Mark Gillespie as goalkeeping options.