ALUN ARMSTRONG wants to keep the number of loan signings he brings to Darlington to a minimum as he believes creating a squad of permanent signings does more to encourage team spirit.

His approach differs from Darlington’s last season, when the club supplemented their squad with a series of players arriving on loan.

Goalkeeper Jake Turner (Bolton), Ben Jackson (Huddersfield), Will Smith, Romal Palmer (both Barnsley) and Andrew Nelson (Sunderland) all made worthwhile contributions, and a handful of others made up the numbers.

In April chief executive David Johnston said the club’s model would change with longer term loans being introduced to keep costs manageable.

But Armstrong sees it differently, explaining: “I will utilise the loan market, but if I can have a squad where I don’t have to until injuries prevail then I won’t.

“And then you’ve got that good dressing room, a camaraderie, that team ethic, rather than lads coming and going from different clubs. It’s what you need at our level.

“Every lad I’ve spoken to from the last year, they’ve said it was lacking with a lot of changes, there wasn’t a team spirit with people coming and going, so we’ve got to get that back because it wins you so many points in a season.”

Armstrong saw Peter Jameson prefer York City over moving to Quakers, so has contacted Middlesbrough about borrowing one of their young goalkeepers for the season.

However, Boro say decisions on which of their youngsters are available for loan may not be made until closer to the beginning of the season.

Darlington begin pre-season training on Tuesday and their first friendly is on Saturday, July 6 at Blackwell Meadows against Motherwell (2pm), by which time Armstrong hopes to have made more signings.

He has made five so far and expects to recruit Jordan Watson from Blyth. The defender was with Darlington in the 2016-17 season after joining from Blyth, but returned to Croft Park before the end of the campaign.

Armstrong has offered a contract to former Newcastle United youngster Adam Campbell, a 24-year-old striker who spent last season on loan to Carlisle United from Morecambe.