ALUN ARMSTRONG is Darlington’s choice to be their next manager.

The Northern Echo understands that the Blyth Spartans boss is set to take charge at Quakers, replacing Tommy Wright at the helm.

Armstrong, 44, was in the running to become Darlington’s manager 18 months ago before deciding to stay with Blyth, but this time has accepted the position at a club he represented in his playing days.

A striker with Stockport County, Middlesbrough and Ipswich Town, Armstrong had two seasons with Darlington, in 2004-05 and ’06-07.

After struggling with injury he was deemed surplus to requirements by then manager Dave Penney, who had brought in a handful of new signings among them being Wright, who was a young striker at the time.

Twelve years later the roles are reversed only this time in the dugout as Armstrong returns, this time to replace Wright, who left Darlington after the final game of the season last month.

The search for Wright’s replacement concludes after what was a three-week process at the beginning of which Darlington stated preferred candidate would be someone with the UEFA A coaching Licence.

Wolsingham-based Armstrong, originally from Blaydon, has for several years been in possession of the UEFA Pro Licence, the highest coaching accreditation available, and at Blackwell Meadows will hope to replicate the success he had with Blyth where he was in position for almost three full seasons.

He replaced Tom Wade as boss at Croft Park early in 2016-17 and made an immediate impact by leading Blyth to the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League title, 12 months after Darlington had achieved the same feat by pipping Spartans to the post.

During ’17-18, Blyth’s first season after promotion, Armstrong turned down the opportunity to replace Martin Gray as Quakers manager in October 2017, and went on to guide Blyth to a tenth-placed position, four points outside the play-offs.

He bettered that this time around by achieving a place in the play-offs where, without talismanic Robbie Dale, Blyth lost to Altrincham on penalties.

Nonetheless, their sixth place represented the club’s highest ever finish, but Armstrong hit out at the Blyth board last month after being told the finances available would be reduced.

The last week has seen Blyth lose two key players, Sean Reid joining Morpeth Town yesterday, and last week Kieran Green moved to York City, with more of their squad set to leave Croft Park.