Darlington have freed three of their fringe players as manager Steve Staunton sets about trimming his squad.

David Knight, Matt Plummer and James Bennett have all left The Northern Echo Arena having found themselves surplus to requirements.

The trio all signed oneyear contracts at the beginning of the season after being brought to the club by previous manager Colin Todd.

Former Middlesbrough youth keeper Knight and defender Plummer, who arrived from Hull City, were regularly selected during the first two months of the season, while midfielder Bennett was often named as a substitute.

But since Staunton’s arrival in early October all three have been peripheral figures with the new manager preferring to bring in a raft of players on loan.

Quakers had been attempting to negotiate a pay-off for sometime with the outcasts and have finally come to an agreement, though defender Paul Arnison remains at The Northern Echo Arena.

The right-back, another with a one-year contract, has also been frozen out having not featured in any of the last five matches.

But Staunton says the door to the first-team remains open to the likes of Arnison, as proved when Mark Convery made a surprise appearance on Saturday.

Last month the winger was told he could leave, but Staunton explained Convery has worked his way back into the reckoning by impressing in training.

Convery came on as a substitute in the home defeat to Bradford at the weekend, and Staunton said: “Mark was on the bench because he had worked hard in training.

“All of the squad are part of the club and are under contract and I felt Mark had done enough to warrant a place on the bench.

“Apart from the free-kick he took, where I don’t know what he was trying to do, I thought he did okay. He had some nice touches and worked hard.

“No player is out of the frame, they’re all part of Darlington Football Club.

They’re all under contract and we’re paying their wages.”

Staunton’s side travel to Torquay United on Saturday but the Darlington Supporters Club will not be running a coach to Quakers’ longest journey of the season.

A lack of numbers means they will not be travelling to an away game as an offical organisation for the first time since the late 1980s.

Karen Glencross, vicechairman, said: “It has been necessary and this is the first time in 21 years that we have not been able to run a coach to an away game.

“I am extremely disappointed with this, but the current situation means that running a coach is just not viable.”