Hibs sign Newcastle striker Phil Airey on loan

Wayne Routledge, Philip Airey and Nile Ranger
Airey (centre) played for Newcastle in their shock defeat by Stevenage

Hibernian have secured the signature of striker Phil Airey on a six-month loan deal from Newcastle United.

Colin Calderwood explained he was keen to sign the 19-year-old last season after leaving his post as Newcastle assistant to become Hibs manager.

But the deal fell through when Northumberland-born Airey, who is a product of the St James' Park youth system, suffered a hamstring injury.

"He has been on our radar for quite some time," said Calderwood.

The Hibs boss has already signed Junior Agogo after the striker left Apollon Limassol and retained Akpo Sodje this summer.

"He will offer us something different up front," the manager told Hibs' website when confirming the Airey deal.

"Now, with both Akpo and Junior returning to full fitness, we will have serious competition for places in attack and Phil will strengthen that area even further."

Airey made his first-team debut as a substitute in January in a 3-1 FA Cup defeat by Stevenage.

However, he has spent the rest of the time in the English Premier League club's second string and won the Golden Boot in the Premier Reserve League North with 11 goals.

Now he has become Hibs' second signing in two days after the capture of freed Aston Villa midfielder Isaiah Osbourne and he has targeted a starting place at Easter Road.

"I'm really pleased to be joining such a big club like Hibernian and I will be looking to challenge for a first-team place," said the striker.

"I love it at Newcastle, but I'm now getting to an age where I need to get first-team games under my belt and hopefully I will achieve that with Hibernian."