ON-loan centre-back Ashley Eastham is to stay with Bury until the end of the season.

The 20-year-old who has impressed in his 16 appearances for the club, has already had his tenure at Gigg Lane extended twiice, but his parent club Blackpool have now agreed to allow him to see out the current campaign ahead of Bury’s Boxing Day trip to face former boss Alan Knill’s Scunthorpe United.

The Shakers will retain an option on his services should they reach the League One play-offs.

Manager Richie Barker has also identified other loanees, winger David Amoo (Liverpool) and midfielder Shane Byrne (Leicester City), as key components of his squad until the end of the season.

“We are trying to keep David and we were close with Shane, but contract-wise there are a couple of spanners in the works,” said Barker. “But we’ll be working extremely hard to try to sort them out.

“One of the issues is out of our hands – it maybe something that will be decided eslewhere.

“Shane certainly wants to stay. But we need to get them boxed off because, if we can’t keep them, I need to start looking elsewhere, because they’ve become an integral part of what we’re trying to do here.

“It would be like losing three players if we couldn’t keep them.”

Barker, meanwhile, has taken time out to underline the importance of his assistant manager Peter Shirtliff to his current regime.

“Ashley and Shane came partly due to Peter being here,” he said. “He’s got contacts at Leicester, having worked there, and Blackpool.

“He’s massively important from my point of view. I couldn’t have done what I’ve done without him.

“When I’ve got a massive headache in the game, I’m ranting, raving and balling and I’ve forgotten what’s going on, he sometimes just steps back and puts a calmer note on things.”