THE arrival of Jordan Watson gives Darlington competition and cover for the left side of their defence, explains Alun Armstrong.

Watson has returned to Quakers from Blyth Spartans, the club he returned to early in 2017 when Martin Gray deemed him surplus to requirements after less than a season with Quakers.

At Croft Park he became a first-choice player under Armstrong, part of the team that reached the play-offs last season, and he has since become one of six Spartans that have moved to Darlington this summer.

“Jordan is a great lad, he is top notch and will give us everything down the left,” said Armstrong, who is on the verge of making more additions to his squad.

“We have Terry Galbraith and Michael Liddle down the left but if one of them gets injured you need cover and you need competition, so we’ve got three players there that can play centre-back and left-back.

“Jordan’s hard as nails. People might think he’s a little bit small for a centre-back, but he’s really competitive and heads the ball really well.

“When he became available at Darlo I took him straight away and he was exceptional for me last season, playing as the left centre-half. He came back from a cruciate knee injury and was outstanding.

“Jordan's a no-nonsense defender and he does love a tackle.”

While Watson will compete for a place on the left side of the pitch, on the other flank England C international Luke Trotman will start the season at right-back, a point Armstrong is keen to make.

Trotman, 22, is studying a banking, finance and management degree at Loughborough University, and while the new manager is eager to sign North-East-based players he wishes to make it clear that Trotman is in his first-choice XI.

He said: “Trotman is staying, he’s part of my plans. People might’ve thought I was trying to get rid of him because I’ve been signing local lads, but he is staying and will be right-back at the start of the season.

“If a club comes in for him from the Football League we would never stand in his way, but he is part of my plans.”

Omar Holness, who made seven appearances at the end of last season, is to train with Darlington, Armstrong explaining: “I’ve spoken to Omar and he’ll be coming into training so that I can have a look at him.”