DARLINGTON have welcomed Adam Mitchell back into the fold and are hoping to re-sign him before the season.

Having ended last season with Quakers, he had been on trial with Gateshead since the beginning of pre-season and the winger made a surprise appearance in Saturday’s 5-1 loss to Sunderland.

Mitchell played in Gateshead’s 2-0 win over a Newcastle United XI at the International Stadium on Friday evening and after being told by Heed boss Gary Mills that he would not be offered a contract, he played against former club Sunderland at Heritage Park the following day.

“Adam was a real bright spark,” said Quakers boss Martin Gray. “His energy was good, he was against his old club and wanted to do well. We’re going to sit down and have a chat.

“He’s not on trial anywhere else at the moment so he’s available and we’ll see what we can do.”

Mills, who has also told trialist Craig Lynch that he is not needed, explained: “They have both done well in their short time at Gateshead. But we are running with a small squad and I have to look at what we already have.

“In some ways they can count themselves unlucky not to be offered contracts, but I have to make decisions on players and I’m delighted with the way the squad is shaping up.”

With four weeks to go before the season-opening game at home to Warrington on August 16, Gray says there’s still time for additions to his squad, though on Saturday he was frustrated to be without two players due to holidays.

“We’re still looking at players and there’s one or two situations that we’re looking at,” said the manager.

“There’s one or two lads on holiday. Leon Scott is injured, David Dowson is on holiday, so is Jordan Robinson, and that’s the frustrating thing at this level. Gus Poyet has his team from July 1 until the end of the season and he could do as much work as he wants with them. I’d love to be in that position.”

Darlington were given a tough afternoon by Sunderland in front of a 2,000 crowd at Heritage Park. Gary Brown pulled a goal back in the second half following a mistake by Wes Brown, but Quakers were otherwise on the back foot.

Gray said: “Like any manager, this time of the year is about looking towards what you’re going to do come the start of the season and hopefully we have gained a lot from the match. I told the players not to worry because they won’t play another side as good as Sunderland this season.

“It was a good exercise and worthwhile if only from a fitness point of view. It was nice to pinch a goal, but the main thing we can take it from the day is fitness because we had to work very hard.

“Sunderland’s class and quality of movement, their decision making is so impressive, but what impressed me most was how quickly they won the ball back. They had the appetite.

“The gulf in class is massive, but we had a little spell before half-time when we got into the game a little bit.

We had a little bit of play, but you’re always going to be limited in the number of chances you’re going to get when you’re playing against players from that level of football.”