TOMMY WRIGHT expects to make more additions to the Darlington squad next week having made Josh Heaton his first signing since being appointed the club’s manager.

Defender Heaton, 21, signed yesterday after a brief spell with Ramsbottom United, and he goes straight into the squad for today’s trip to Kidderminster Harriers.

The 6ft 5in centre-back is a towering presence, and Wright admitted: “He makes me feel like a 12-year-old. He’s a big lad and he towers above me.”

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By the time Tamworth travel to Blackwell Meadows next Saturday Wright hopes to have further stamped his influence on a team that is in poor form and desperately in need of a lift after winning only two of their last 15 league games.

Bringing in new faces will be a boost to the current players, believes Wright, who takes charge of his third Quakers game today.

He had hoped to bring in a further two players from a fellow National League North club in time for today’s fixture, but their employer delayed the moves as they want time to secure replacements.

Heaton, who was with Bamber Bridge last season, joins four months after being on trial with Darlington, although Wright’s own interest in the centre-back stretches back far longer.

“He’s been on my radar for a long time and I wasn’t aware he almost signed for the club in July,” said the former Corby manager.

“When he went to Tamworth on loan from Preston a couple of years ago I tried to sign him then. He was hot property, a few clubs were looking to sign him on a permanent basis.

“I need to get him going again and get him focused. He’s keen to push on with us, he was gutted in the summer when it all fell through in the way it did, and I have high hopes up for him.”

Heaton’s July move to Quakers collapsed after he sustained a broken collarbone while playing for the reserves at Seaham Red Star, though the manager of Bamber Bridge at the time said Darlington were unable to agree financial terms with the player.

Now fully recovered from his injury and having spent a brief spell with Ramsbottom, two divisions below the NLN, Heaton could even start, suggested Wright.

“I spoke to Gary Brown and I spoke to Phil Turnbull and I even picked Martin Gray’s brains to get a gauge on what happened,” he added.

“I think a lot of people were impressed with him in pre-season, he’s a good addition and he goes straight into the squad for Saturday. Let’s see if he gets a start, because if he does I think he’ll be ready.

“From the conversations I’ve had with him he seems really driven, he acknowledges how big a club Darlington is and he’s champing at the bit to get started.”

With no lack of irony in the timing, Heaton arrives just as Brown becomes available again. Brown has reported no ill effects after training on Thursday, so will start today for the first time since August 28.

He is likely to be facing Joe Ironside, a forward who scored a penalty for Wright’s Nuneaton at Blackwell Meadows in January, and is a player Quakers’ boss hopes will be kept quiet today.

“He had been at Alfreton, wasn’t scoring enough, came to Nuneaton and was in and out of the team, but when I got the job he was a player I really wanted to work with,” said Wright, whose Nuneaton side beat Kidderminster 1-0 in August.

“He listens, he’s a young kid, one of the nicest lads I’ve ever met and he wanted to take advice on board and within four or five months he got his move to Kidderminster. He’s a great player but we kept him quiet in August and hopefully we’ll do the same on Saturday.”

Of the win over Harriers, Wright added: “To be honest, 1-0 flattered them. We really got after them, we didn’t let them settle into their passing game and we hit them hard on the counter-attack.

“Let’s see if my game-plan comes off. I’m quietly confident going into the game and I think we’ll get a good reaction from the boys.

“There’s obviously still a lot to work on, new faces will come in and that will give the boys a boost. It’s a group of players that want to do the right things, they want to win games of football and they’re not used to losing, that’s their mindset. They feel they are letting down a large amount of supporters and are focused on putting things right.”