The first stages of Darlington’s preparations for next season have begun with manager Martin Gray speaking to a number of potential new signings, but a utility player been released.

Darren Richardson leaves Quakers, but with a glowing reference from Gray.

“Darren’s going purely because we can’t promise he’ll play as much next season,” said Gray, who is close to agreeing contracts with several of the current squad.

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“Darren was a big part of the season, he played quite a few games for us and was in the squad a lot so we have to thank for him for his contribution to the success we had because he was a big part of it.

“I think he leaves us a better player and a more disciplined one.”

Richardson, who did not have a contract with Quakers, joined a year ago from Bishop Auckland and made 25 appearances, 16 as substitute.