DARLINGTON are considering re-signing free agent Josh Heaton, 12 months after selling him for £75,000.

The centre-back played as a trialist in today’s pre-season friendly, used as a second-half substitute in a 3-0 win over Middlesbrough’s under-23s.

The match at Blackwell Meadows was Quakers’ last before the league season begins next weekend at Farsley Celtic, by which time Heaton may have returned to Darlington a year after being sold to St Mirren.

The transfer was worth £75,000 and the Buddies’ biggest in over 25 years, but he made just two appearances north of the border and, after ending last season on loan to Kidderminster Harriers, Heaton was released this summer.

Preston-based Heaton has recently been training with Harrogate Town, but after alerting Alun Armstrong about his availability the 22-year-old was back in Quakers colours today.

Aftere today's match, Armstrong said: “I’ll have a chat with Josh now. He got in touch and who wouldn’t be interested in him? He has played at this level and he is comfortable.

“I’ve been speaking to Josh for a couple of weeks now. I’ve said to him that we could look at something, he would be useful that is for definite.

“He will learn a lot more here because of the way we play and the players that are in the team. He wouldn’t be guaranteed a place, if he wants to come he would have to fight for his place and he would learn from people like Laingy.

“He really enjoyed it today, he settled in straight away, but we’ll have a chat with him to see what we can do, but maybe it’s something that would benefit both parties.”

Louis Laing and Terry Galbraith will started the season as Armstrong’s preferred centre-back options, with midfielder David Atkinson and left-back Jordan Watson providing cover.

But Armstrong added: “People might think overloaded with centre-halfs but we’re not.

“Today I only had two with Atky and Jordan injured. If anything had happened to Laingy or Tez we would’ve been knackered.”