NEW striker Tyrone O’Neill will offer another option among Darlington’s attackers, believes manager Alun Armstrong.

The teenager has joined on loan from Middlesbrough in an arrangement lasting until the end of December, and will make his first Quakers appearance today against FC Halifax Town at Blackwell Meadows (3pm).

O’Neill is no stranger to Armstrong, however, who used to be his coach in Boro’s academy and talks highly of the 19-year-old.

He said: “I had him for about four years when I was coaching there. He’s a gangly centre-forward, he’s not bad in the air, he’s over 6ft and he’s got really good feet.

“He’ll back in and get hold of the ball, and he’s a good goalscorer as well.

“He’s not a battering ram, he’ll drop off and link the play and be clever with it."

O’Neill, from Grangetown, had a brief spell on loan with Hartlepool United last season, and Armstrong added: “He didn’t have the best of times at Hartlepool, but I don’t think that style of football suits him, he’s clever, he can look after the football and he’s a good finisher.

“Hopefully he’ll help us and we’ll help him.”

O’Neill becomes Armstrong’s tenth summer signing, adding an option to an attack that in pre-season has seen Adam Campbell play as a lone striker with Stephen Thompson playing, while Jarret Rivers and Jamie Holmes are on the flanks.

“You need competition,” explained Armstrong. “You cannot have the lads being guaranteed to play, they’d just get comfortable if they knew they were going to play no matter what.

“The three behind Campbell, they can all play in each other’s positions, even Campbell as well if needed even though I want him up front.

“Tyrone is more of a central player, and he gives us an option if someone has an injury or is having a bad patch, and everyone has a bad spell at some time.”

Justin Donawa, one of a number of Bermudans brought to Armstrong’s attention by club director John Woolnough, will hope to grab another chance to be offered a deal by Darlington.

He missed a handful of scoring chances during Monday’s 4-1 win at Bishop Auckland, and Armstrong said: “He did okay, but forgot his shooting boots.

“If he’d scored his first chance we would probably have seen a different performance from him, he’d have had more confidence.

“But he showed enough for us to have another look, he’s got pace and he’s very athletic.”

Another Bermudan, Tevan Tyrell, who has been with the club this summer will play for a Darlington XI today against Richmond Town unless Bishop Auckland would like a look at him in their match with Middlesbrough under-23s. He played on Thursday for Bishop against Willington.

The game at Richmond, a 2pm kick-off, will see Joe Wheatley begin his return from a hernia problem having undergone surgery this summer, while Jonny Burn and Mitchell Glover will also be given a run-out.

They remain under contract for another year but are out in the cold and Armstrong would like both to leave on loan.

He explained: “I’ve told them the situation, they are behind in the pecking order and they know it.”

Winger Lucas Bell and right-back Cameron Holliday both acquitted themselves well against Bishop Auckland, giving Armstrong plenty to ponder.

“We need to decide what we’re going to do with Lucas,” he said. “Is he ahead of some lads that we’ve got in the first team? Based on what we’ve seen so far we’d say yes.

“Would we be pushing him too much? He’s only 17, we’ve got to look after him.

“He’s shown glimpses that he can handle it, but without being disrespectful we were playing against a Northern League team on Monday.

“We can’t expect too much from the lad, we’ve got to manage him properly, but we’ve seen enough to warrant another look.”

Holliday is from Darlington, but has previously been in the youth set-up at both Carlisle and Hartlepool.

Armstrong added: “He did smashing, he’s a lovely little footballer. He’s another one that we will be discussing.

“He needs to be playing somewhere, so maybe we can get him out on loan to develop.”