EXCESSIVE wage demands are a factor in Darlington’s summer recruitment drive stalling, admits Alun Armstrong.

He wasted little time in making five additions to his squad when he was appointed as Quakers’ manager last month, with his new signings all coming from former club Blyth Spartans.

However, Armstrong has since not been able to complete a sixth signing, but has been working on several targets, and in the meantime has seen Jordan Nicholson and Tom Elliott move on.

“Some of the players I’m speaking to are a lot more expensive than they should be,” said the manager, who had hoped to have made a sixth signing before beginning a holiday last Friday. “Because it’s us they think they can get more money.

“I’ve got players into the club that are on a lot less than then eight that were here when I started. I am working on rectifying that which is why it has slowed the process of people coming in.

“I understand that they get paid well, but I wish I was playing now - I might get my boots back on!

“Some lads are on more than I was getting when I was playing for Stockport. There’s lads getting more money for training twice a week and playing on a Saturday than I was getting playing in the Championship.

“There’s some clubs in this division pay more than some clubs in League 2, I know that for a fact.”

His five from Blyth are: Michael Liddle, David Atkinson, Jarrett Rivers, Jamie Holmes and Louis Laing.

The lure of full-time football at York City proved persuasive for both Peter Jameson and Dan Maguire, who chose Bootham Crescent after leaving Spartans.

“You’ve got to get the right balance,” added Armstrong, who returns from a family holiday tomorrow. “You need players in, but you want the ones who want to play for Darlington, not for the money.

“The way I’ve worked it with the ones I’ve brought in, it’s incentivised, it’s win bonuses, appearances based.

“It’s not a case of ‘here’s your money, now go and sit on the bench and do nothing', you’ve got to earn your money by being on the pitch and that’s the way it has got to be.

“That’s the way it has got to be so that we’re getting value for money.”

Darlington’s first pre-season friendly is on July 6 at home to Motherwell (2pm), while among their schedule is a game at Eastbourne Sports Complex on July 9 against Wearside League club Darlington Town (7pm).