FORMER Newport County AFC loanee Matt Baker has been offered a contract extension by Stoke City.

The 21-year-old defender, who can also play in midfield, enjoyed a second loan spell at Rodney Parade in 2023/24.

The Wales Under-21s international first joined the Exiles in January 2023 and made 18 appearances for Graham Coughlan’s side in the second half of the League Two campaign.

Baker returned in August and, after recovering from a hamstring strain suffered with the Potters, became a mainstay in the XI when racking up 39 appearances.

He was a key figure on the right of the defensive three when County gave Manchester United an FA Cup scare and then pushed for the League Two play-offs before injuries led to a disastrous eight-game losing streak to finish the season.

South Wales Argus: Matt Baker takes the ball out of defence for County against TranmereMatt Baker takes the ball out of defence for County against Tranmere (Image: Huw Evans Agency)

Baker is out of contract this summer but has been offered fresh terms by the Championship club.

Now the prospect from Kent must weigh up staying in the Potteries, and potentially having another loan spell, or making a move.

Former County loanee Calum Kavanagh was faced with a similar decision at the start of the year when he made a permanent move to Bradford City from Middlesbrough, dropping down to League Two with the intention of bouncing back up thanks to regular action.

The 20-year-old forward, a Republic of Ireland age-grade international and son of Cardiff City legend Graham, scored for the Bantams against the Exiles on the last day of the season when the Yorkshire side narrowly missed out on the play-offs.

County have five players on loan throughout last season plus teenage striker Olly Thomas, who arrived as injury cover last autumn and remains under contract at Bristol City.

He joined to provide an option while clubmate Seb Palmer-Houlden recovered from a serious hamstring injury.

Palmer-Houlden returned impressively to earn an extension at the Robins despite already being under contract.

The talented 20-year-old, who scored memorable winners against Swindon, Wrexham and Doncaster in his nine-goal haul when getting a first taste of senior football with the Exiles, will be at Ashton Gate until at least 2027.

County also brought in three full-backs on loan – Liverpool’s Adam Lewis, Newcastle’s Matty Bondswell and Southampton’s Lewis Payne.

Lewis, who like Baker returned for a second loan spell in Newport, is set to be released by the Reds this summer and previously said he was open to a permanent move to Rodney Parade.

Bondswell is reported to be out of contract with the Magpies – who are yet to announce their released and retained list – while Payne has another year on his Saints deal.

County announced earlier this month that they are in talks over contract extensions with four players - stalwart Scot Bennett, captain and centre-back Ryan Delaney and midfielders Aaron Wildig and Harry Charsley.