Whitmore will spend the rest of the season with the Heed

It will be like going home for Geordie Alex which will allow him to settle in quickly with Gateshead confirming yesterday that the loan deal will be until the end of the season.

He's been signed by Gateshead born Neil Aspin, who became the club's manager less than two months ago having replaced former Sunderland boss Malcolm Crosby.

He said, after completing the loan: "I needed a centre half. The lads who are playing at the back at the moment have really been picking themselves, and they haven't had a lot of competition.

"With Ben (Clark) and Jamie (Curtis) both being in their 30s, and pace not being their biggest attribute, I feel we need to bring in someone a little younger and more mobile. And that's what I feel I've done.

Chester had hoped to keep Whitmore after his one month youth loan had ended but admitted they'd lost out to Gateshead for whom the central defender has already scored this season. He made five appearances for Chester, the second of which was a 1-0 defeat at Gateshead in which he scored an own goal.

Gateshead are waiting on clearance from the Football Conference which should come through to enable him to go into the squad tomorrow against Barrow.