Newcastle United managing director Derek Llambias has revealed that the club will always have a soft spot for on loan West Ham striker Andy Carroll.

A product of the Toon’s youth academy, Carroll still has a house in the city and regularly comes back ‘home’ to see his family and friends in the area.

The 24-year-old has had a tough time with injuries since he arrived in East London in the summer but West Ham are still keen on signing the Liverpool striker permanently for a reported £17million at the end of the season.

Newcastle appear to be the only thing standing in the way of that deal going through as the player would prefer a move back to North East to play for his boyhood club once again.

Despite leaving in acrimonious circumstances in 2011, Llambias is adamant that the club still have a soft spot for the player and that he can see him improving every time he plays.

“We’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for Andy here,” Llambias told the Chronicle.

“He’s a character and he’s getting older and more mature – and he’s stronger.

“It’s unlucky what has happened at West Ham. But he scored a great goal at the weekend.

“He’s still got a house up here. Andy was part and parcel of our growth.”