Newcastle United recently paid £10m to sign Nick Pope from Burnley after Freddie Woodman left to join Preston North End and the 30-year-old is likely to push out Karl Darlow and challenge Martin Dubravka for a starting place next season, so Paddy Kenny hailed the North-East club for making a good acquisition.

He told Football Insider: “Well you have Pope in. (He is) your solid signing. (He is an) improvement and a good signing. Pope is a good player.” Pope kept 53 clean sheets in 155 appearances for Burnley before joining Newcastle, so he comes with a lot of experience.

The 30-year-old will be hoping to get in the England squad ahead of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar too, so he needs to dethrone Dubravka to impress Gareth Southgate. Eddie Howe is close to signing Sven Botman from LOSC Lille too, so Newcastle’s backline is nearly complete.

The Magpies could line up with Pope or Dubravka between the sticks, Matt Targett at left-back, Fabian Schar or Botman alongside Dan Burn at centre-back and Kieran Trippier at right-back. It’s a defence capable of standing up to most teams, so there’s every reason to believe Newcastle can push for a strong top-half finish.

Midfield is the next area Howe needs to strengthen amid interest in West Ham United’s Tomas Soucek.

In other news, Paddy Kenny gives verdict on ‘solid’ Matt Targett