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Page last updated at 15:17 GMT, Thursday, 20 March 2008

Cup hero Steele rejoins Barnsley

Luke Steele (right) is congratulated by Barnsley manager Simon Davey
Steele (right) has been in great form for Davey's Barnsley side

Barnsley have tied up a deal to sign FA Cup goalkeeping hero Luke Steele from West Brom on loan, with a permanent switch taking place in the summer.

Steele, 23, was on loan when Barnsley beat Liverpool and Chelsea to reach the FA Cup semi-finals and he can now play against Cardiff on 6 April at Wembley.

His initial loan ended on Monday, but he has rejoined Barnsley and will sign for them at the end of the season.

But if Barnsley meet West Brom in the Cup final, Steele will not be eligible.

Steele said he was delighted the two parties had come to an agreement so he could play in the biggest match of his career.

It's Wembley, it's every boy's dream and I'm no different

Barnsley's Luke Steele

"It's been a frustrating week but I'm delighted it's all sorted out and everyone's happy with it," Steele told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"In my own mind I've never had any doubt that I wouldn't play, it was only the media saying there was a chance it wouldn't happen.

"The semi-final means everything to me, that is the prize. It's Wembley, it's every boy's dream and I'm no different to anyone else."

West Brom chairman Jeremy Peace said: "I'm delighted for all parties that we've been able to reach agreement."

The deal was on hold because West Brom and Barnsley were thought to want different deals.

West Brom were keen for Steele to join on a permanent basis and also wanted Barnsley to pay more of his wages while on loan - the Baggies subsidised his wages by paying 60% during his first month's spell.


Steele will now be able to play in the FA Cup semi-final against Cardiff at Wembley on 6 April, but under FA rules, he would not be able to play if the Tykes meet West Brom - who play Pompey in the other semi - in the final.

Peace added: "We've always been happy for Luke to go back to Barnsley and play in the semi-final, providing the deal was right for us.

"We felt we were a big help to Barnsley by allowing Luke to join them for a month and heavily subsidising his wages.

"Now Barnsley's financial situation has changed due to their lucrative FA Cup run, we've managed to strike a deal which suits everyone."

Steele will go straight back into the Barnsley team for their important Championship match against Sheffield United at Oakwell on Saturday.

see also
Wednesday's gossip column
19 Mar 08 |  Gossip
Barnsley 1-0 Chelsea
08 Mar 08 |  FA Cup
Liverpool 1-2 Barnsley
16 Feb 08 |  FA Cup
Barnsley sign goalkeeper Steele
14 Feb 08 |  Barnsley

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