DAYS after Alun Armstrong signed a new three-year deal to remain as Darlington boss, a string of players have joined him in extending their stays at Blackwell Meadows.

Top scorer Adam Campbell, who bagged 16 goals last season, former Hartlepool and Sunderland centre-half Louis Laing, Joe Wheatley, Michael Liddle and midfielder Will Hatfield have all committed to the club for next season.

With the Boost the Budget campaign now passing £100,000, after being launched on May 1, the club is now targeting another £20,000 boost.

And with Armstrong on board to spearhead next season, the club’s chief executive David Johnson said: “We have been working in the sensibly stuff to make sure the club is in a strong position. He was under contract, but we were keen to extend it.

“He is pivotal to what we are doing. He came on a two-year deal, build this season and then have a go – now we have him for another three.

“We may have lost a bit of ground because of Covid-19, but fans can see what we are trying to do.

“Who knows where we are going right now – I’m aware of a lot of clubs in difficulty, in real financial difficulty.’’

He added: “Alun is looking at players. We are looking at strengthening. We have taken Alan off furlough, we have furloughed players and staff but he will go back on it.

“The silence is deafening, and this has been a real eye opener on how the money dictates the game. We are told what we have to do.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty with Football League clubs and National League clubs under financial pressure. We will follow the league and this has been an eye opener how much influence the National League has.

“My own view is that money has ruled all the way through and even to the extent it is more important than health and safety – money dictates who goes up and who goes down.

“I feel the moral compass is wrong, but we will do the right things as a club. A lot of clubs are very dissatisfied in that we are told what to do by the league, but when we need the league they are not there.’’

He added: “We have a good nucleus of a squad, we will add to that and get back soon with some sensible things. We cannot play behind closed doors in our league or with huge social distancing – common sense has to be applied, but we will look at it when we know where this season ends and next season starts.

“We need to think carefully about it all – revenue is everything in non-league football. Can we have live streaming of games? We have to look at revenue streams for fans who have to socially distance who can’t attend games.’’

Meanwhile, Jamie Holmes has completed his rehabilitation work after the striker suffered a cruciate ligament injury last August.

The former Blyth striker was injured in just the second match of the season, against Gateshead at Blackwell Meadows.