FORMER Darlington goalkeeper Liam Connell has returned to Northern League football by signing for Hebburn.

The 34-year-old was on loan to Quakers this season from South Shields, playing in 13 matches which included an FA Cup tie at Tamworth when he saved a penalty.

Hebburn say Connell put pen to paper today and he will provide competition for current number one Mark Foden.

Connell told his new club's website: "It's been a long time coming, Hebburn is a fantastic club with some excellent people here. I can't wait to get started and help the lads, the management and the club overall achieve some great memories. I've got some good friends at the club already and can't wait to get back among them. Hopefully we have some exciting times ahead."

Hebburn are third in Division One of the Northern League and have reached the semi-finals of the FA Trophy where they are due to face Corinthian, with the first leg due to be played tomorrow until the season was suspended.

Manger Kevin Bolam said: "I'm over the moon to secure the services of Liam at Hebburn.

"I know he's been a target of the club for some time and now the time has presented itself to get the right deal done ahead of the league run in and ahead of the FA Vase semi-finals.

"I've worked with Liam previously when I was part of South Shields Reserves and followed his progress closely, he's a great asset to have at the club, his experience, character and of course quality on the pitch can only help the squad in our season targets but also beyond that. Liam will add great competition to Mark and Andy and it allows me to support the Reserve and U23 teams during what has been a goalkeeping crisis we have had with three great goalkeepers."

Senior club chairman Vin Pearson said of the deal: "I'm pleased the club could get the right deal done and can't wait to get him among the squad. At a time when football at our level is a little uncertain we hope this is some good news to share with our supporters."