Marco Gabbiadini looks set to join Second Division Northampton Town this afternoon - the day after eight players were released from Feethams.

The Darlington striker is to end his prolific two-year stay at Feethams by joining the Cobblers, who overtook Quakers for the third automatic promotion spot in the last week of the season.

Northampton have announced a press conference for 4pm this afternoon, at which they will parade three signings - one of which is expected to be Gabbiadini, who scored 53 goals in two seasons for Quakers.

There have been a host of clubs chasing the 32-year-old, but it is understood that Northampton manager Kevin Wilson, who is back from holiday, is able to meet the former Sunderland striker's main demand of a three-year contract.

Quakers' manager David Hodgson yesterday started pruning the wage bill, with two of the players released - Michael Oliver and Mark Samways - part of the squad that lost out at Wembley last season.

Long-serving Phil Brumwell is out of contract, but is hopfiul of securing a new deal to stay.

"The chairman has told me that the wages budget for the new season has been reduced, so I have to work within the financial conditions which he's set. He wants the club to run its own finances," said Hodgson.

Chairman George Reynolds last week revealed that the club will be a separate entity within his company, and that he would not be paying transfer fees, agents fees or signing on fees.

Midfielder Oliver has been a regular since he was signed in the summer of 1996, while keeper Samways took over in goal from the injured Andy Collett in October last year, and made 36 appearances in league and cup.

Also on their way out are Neil Radigan, Johnny Leah, David Wells, David Hunt and Justin Keegan, as well as teenager Michael Carter, who scored on his only full appearance for the club against Scarborough two seasons ago.

Gary Bennett's playing contract is also not being renewed, but he is likely to remain on the coaching staff and he has tasted success in his role as reserve team manager. "Gary has done well in that role, with the reserves winning promotion and the Durham Challenge Cup," said Hodgson.

There could be another departure soon from Feethams, as striker Peter Duffield, who scored 13 times last season, is the subject of interest from York City.

But Hodgson said: "York haven't approached me yet, and besides that Peter still has a year on his contract."

However, it won't all be one way traffic away from Feethams, as Hodgson has made enquiries about several players, with three arriving on trial next month.

Former Darlington skipper Kevan Smith has been appointed joint assistant manager of Third Division Hull City. Smith, who joins his ex Darlington manager Brian Little at Boothferry Park, said: "I've got an opportunity now to get back into professional football with a chap who I've always totally respected."

Another former Darlington player, Dave Moore, has been appointed alongside Smith.

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