A NEW striker will play for Darlington in this evening's friendly with Newcastle United at The Northern Echo Arena - paperwork pending.

After impressing while on trial he agreed to sign last week and Quakers lodged the relevant administrative details on Thursday with the Football Association.

However, they have yet to receive notification from the governing body that the player's registration has been completed.

Loading article content

The delay, while unexpected, is not expected to hamper Darlington's capture of a player whose previous club was in the National League and started his career with Blackpool, but manager Martin Gray does not wish to identify the striker until the deal is done.

Gray also intends to sign a centre-back this week, a young player who has been on trial this summer and he too will play this evening against Magpies' under-23s.

Gray believes the presence of Peter Beardsley’s team at the Arena will be the perfect boost in preparations for the new season.

Beardsley will field players such as Yasin Ben El-Mhanni, Dan Barlaser and Curtis Good, who have all appeared for Rafael Benitez’s first team, against the Quakers (7pm).

And Gray, a former Sunderland player set to go head-to-head with a Magpies XI again, thinks the occasion will be an ideal next phase for his Darlington squad as the start of the National League North gets closer.

“I’ve looked through the Newcastle squad, and there are certainly some very good players in there,” said Gray. “There are lads who have been at Newcastle for several years, having come through their youth system, and so they have improved their game as they have got older, to the point that last season they were pushing for places in the first team squad.

“Some of them have played in the first team, which proves their pedigree. They have also signed some players during the summer, who presumably they have watched on many occasions, and view them as potential first team players.

“They are also under the guidance of Peter Beardsley, whom everyone knows is a Newcastle legend, and he will be instilling some very good habits into his players.”

en El-Mhanni and Barlaser appeared last season and they will hope to make a push for a Premier League spot next season.

Beardsley’s group of players were close to securing promotion to the top tier of the Premier League Under-23s last season but lost to West Ham in the play-off final.

The Newcastle squad will not include any regular first team squad members, and it will not be handing some action to the likes of Tim Krul, Karl Darlow and Emmanuel Riviere, who missed out at Hearts on Friday night.

A Newcastle Under-23s side featuring Haris Vuckic, Ivan Toney and Gael Bigirimana overcame the Quakers 5-1 in a pre-season friendly a year ago.

Virgin Trains staff will hand out vouchers at the match which will entitle fans to up to 30 per cent discount on the East Coast line. Tickets for the match at the Arena cost £10 for adults and £5 for concessions.