ALUN ARMSTRONG has brought in nine players to Darlington so far and wants two or three more to bolster his new-look squad.

Bringing in a striker, likely to be on loan from a Championship club, is among his priorities.

“It’s ongoing,” he said. “Loans will probably happen in the last week before the season starts.

“I still want one or two players if I can. I would like three in, but finances will dictate that.

“I don’t want to blow the money too early because it’s the fans’ money and I want to protect it.”

All nine of his new additions started on Friday when Quakers lost 2-1 at Harrogate Town, and most will be involved in some capacity in Monday evening’s friendly at Bishop Auckland (7pm).

Ex-Sunderland winger Lucas Bell will play as will a couple of players from the academy, while a handful Bermudan players remain on trial including Justin Donowa, who made a favourable impression when used as a substitute against Harrogate.

The match at Heritage Park, where Darlington played 109 games as tenants from the beginning of the 2012-13 season, will be Armstrong’s third game at the helm and he has been pleased with the progress made so far.

“Hopefully the fans have seen what we’re trying to do,” he said.

“The Motherwell match was the first time these lads had played together at 11-a-side, we hadn’t had chance to do any shape, it had all been focused on fitness.

“You could see in the final third we need a lot of work there, but everyone could see how exciting we’re going to be, how hard working we’re going to be and I think the fans will enjoy it.

“It’s going to be a tough home game at the start of the season against Gateshead, we’ve got to get ourselves ready, but we’ll need them fans behind us.

“Hopefully they’ve seen the kind of football we’re going to be playing and how exciting it’ll be at times.”

Bishop lost 6-2 at Birtley on Saturday, with former Quakers Andrew Johnson and Darren Richardson in the line-up.

Admission at Bishop will be £6 for adults, £4 concessions, £2 for under-18s and it is free for under 5s.