The official website can confirm that young defender has joined Cheltenham Town on loan until the end of the season

The 18-year-old, who made his professional debut at Stoke earlier in the season, completed the paperwork on a loan deal on Friday morning and headed to the East Coast to link up with his team mates ahead of the match at Grimsby Town. The Seasiders have inserted a 24-hour recall clause should their squad be hit with injuries or suspensions.

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Eastham enjoyed an excellent loan spell at Cheltenham over the Christmas period but was recalled by Ian Holloway after Ian Evatt and Rob Edwards were sent off against Ipswich.

Ian Holloway explained, "Ash is a fantastic pro and is developing into a fine player, his attitude is first class, he trains hard and is great to have around the place. Cheltenham treated him well went he went down there last month and interest of a couple of League One clubs, he jumped at the chance to go back there, we want him playing regular first team football and at Cheltenham he can do that."

Cheltenham boss Mark Yates told the Cheltenham website, "It was all dead in the water on Monday and I've been actively searching for another young centre-back with some pace, power and strength," said Mark.

"Ash has got that, he's once we know, he can slot straight back in and he's a good character.

"I spoke to Ian Holloway on Monday and they were keen to keep him in and around them and they had been impressed by the reports they'd had back from us. But they were also getting enquiries from League One clubs as well. Again, that shows that we're doing things properly and fortunately enough, we had a phone call from Blackpool saying that the situation might have changed and I think we are Ashley's preferred choice, which is great.

"Hopefully now we can keep hold of him for a bit and help to develop him as a player so that he can keep on improving."