AGREEMENT is close to being reached on a deal to bring Liam Connell back to Darlington.

The South Shields goalkeeper enjoyed a hugely impressive month on loan with Quakers, a period which ended last weekend, but earlier this week Darlington feared that they would be unable to extend the player’s stay with club.

They had been unable to agree terms with Shields, who have been attempting to achieve maximum value for their 34-year-old third-choice goalkeeper and as a consequence he did not train with Quakers on Tuesday evening.

But it is understood that all parties have now agreed to extend his stay for the remainder of the season.

After losing Tyrone O’Neill this week, the striker being recalled by Middlesbrough two months before the end of his loan, Connell continuing his stay with Darlington would be a timely boost ahead of this weekend’s FA Cup tie at Walsall.

The final fixture of his first month was last Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Hereford, meaning he returned to Shields with four clean sheets in five appearances having quickly become a fans favourite.

He made two appearances in in the FA Cup, the win at Tamworth when he saved a penalty and the victory away to Leamington when he made a stunning reflex save.

Having made a big contribution to the club’s best run in years it would have been cruel to deny Connell an opportunity to play in Quakers’ first round match at League Two Walsall on Saturday, when up to Darlington 1,000 fans will be travelling.