JOE Mason runs out in a Wanderers shirt for the final game of his second loan spell against Barnsley today with team-mates knowing he will leave a big hole when he leaves.

The 22-year-old heads back to Cardiff City after the visit of the Tykes following a successful second stint at the Reebok that has harvested five goals – two in his last two outings at Huddersfield and Doncaster.

It is scoring form that has shown fans what he is capable of after an indifferent first spell with the Whites gleaned just one goal from eight games.

Since returning he has scored five in the same number of outings and Wanderers skipper Jay Spearing and fellow Liverpudlian Neil Danns will be sorry to see the young forward depart.

Spearing said: “Joe is going to be a massive loss for us when he goes back.

“He has been with us on loan twice and done great each time.”

Danns added: “Joe has done a fantastic job and puts defenders on the back foot with his runs.

“He is a big loss to any team and the boys appreciate his work rate and effort since he came here.”

After coming off the bench to net a stoppage-time winner at Huddersfield a week ago, Mason was handed a recall to the starting XI in midweek and was again on the scoresheet – a clinical shot on the turn proving to be the difference in the end at Doncaster after Danns’ opener.

He had several other chances to add to that account as Paul Dickov’s men struggled to contain his movement and Spearing says the finish was typical of the player he has been delighted to play alongside.

And he knows he is just as capable of signing off with another goal today.

The Whites captain said: “I said to him before the (Doncaster) game to just shoot when he has a chance because he has a good eye for goal and thankfully he showed that again.

“Out of all the chances he had, it was possibly the hardest one that he took.”

Whether Wanderers will see Mason again next season depends on current club Cardiff and their situation with regards whether they are still in the Premier League.

But whatever the future holds for the former Republic of Ireland Under-21 striker, Spearing believes it will be a bright one.

He added: “He’s a young lad with plenty of time to learn and will kick on.

“If he keeps playing like he has done for us there will be a lot of clubs interested in him.”