TOMMY WRIGHT is next in line to become Darlington manager after talks with Alun Armstrong collapsed.

Having held talks with Quakers’ hierarchy over the weekend, Armstrong has decided to stay with Blyth Spartans.

Armstrong and Darlington reached a stalemate in their discussions on Sunday, and Spartans tonight released a statement in which they declared their manager is staying at Croft Park.

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Also, although they did not name Darlington, Blyth were critical of the manner of approach for Armstrong, who has taken Spartans to third in the National League North table.

Blyth’s statement read: “Chairman Tony Platten confirmed that he had been contacted by a local club but advised them that Alun had an existing contract of employment.

“In football there are rules and regulations regarding players and managers contracts but with modern communication devices it is almost impossible to stop contact and speculation.”

Armstrong, who missed out on the Gateshead job last week, added: “I have a contract of employment with the club that includes the option for a further 12 months “The management committee, finances, stability and most importantly Croft Park’s readiness for full Conference football were all part of my reason for coming to Blyth in the first place.

“The team is performing excellently in the League and my ambition is to take the club forward.”

Though understood to be disappointed at not being first choice for the position, Wright is now in discussions about replacing Martin Gray at Blackwell Meadows.

The 33-year-old former Darlington forward, who played for the club in 2007-08 and in 2010-11, is currently the manager of Nuneaton Town, who operate as a full-time club and beat Quakers 2-1 on Saturday.

In the programme for the match he declared Darlington as his “second home”, adding: “It is a place that will always have a special place in my heart.”

Nuneaton is his second managerial post having previously been in charge at Corby Town.

Quakers last week carried out interviews with candidates to replace Gray, who is now at York City.

Whitby Town manager Chris Hardy is the choice of many Darlington supporters, but The Northern Echo understands he was not among the seven interviewees and nor did he apply.