Darlington have taken their latest step towards rebuilding by making six signings, which include two former Quakers returning to the club.

Martin Gray and a four-strong backroom staff were appointed last weekend, and the manager has wasted little time in beginning his recruitment drive.

Strikers Danny Mellanby and Shaun Reay have previously been with the club and they are among Gray's first arrivals, who include a mixture of proven Northern League players and younger stock.

Also having accepted Gray's offer are Jamie Clarke, Dan Smith, Darren Richardson and Adam Nicholls.

Mellanby, 32, joins from hometown club Newton Aycliffe, where he has been integral in their rise through the leagues to the top flight of the Ebac Northern League. He was with Darlington from 2001-04.

Reay was a youth team player with Quakers during Gray's time as youth team coach and since being released in 2008 has played for Blyth Spartans and Boldon CA.

Smith is a former Sunderland and Aberdeen centre-back, while Clarke, a veteran striker, has played for various North-East non-league clubs, most recently Whitby Town in the Evo-Stik League last season.

Midfielder Danny Richardson joins from Bishop Auckland, while Adam Nicholls arrives after leaving West Auckland, for whom he played in the FA Vase final at Wembley last month.

"I'm delighted to get my first group of signings on board and we're working hard on bringing in the next group of signings in the near future," said Gray.

Among Gray's coaching set-up is former Darlington defender Sean Gregan, who is hoping to make a comeback having missed most of last season through injury.

Gregan sustained an Achilles injury at the beginning of the campaign, but Gray hopes the Billingham-born 38-year-old will be available for action.

"We're going to see how he goes," said Gray. "He had a nasty Achilles injury, he ruptured it playing for Kendal Town, I think it was, over a year ago.

"I'm going to involve him in the pre-season programme and see how he does.

"The intention is to get him out there for certain times. I can't guarantee it, we'll see how pre-season goes."

Meanwhile, two of Darlington's former youth team products have secured clubs for next season.

Left-back David Ferguson has signed a one-year deal with Sunderland, while forward Jamie Barton is moving to Gateshead.

The Heed are interested in a number of teenagers that were in the second year of their apprenticeship with Darlington, goalkeeper Jordan Nixon among them.

Darlington's first game in the Northern League, should this week's appeal against demotion to Step 5 fail, will be a groundsharing derby against Bishop Auckland, as the away team, on August 18. Their first home game is against Marske three days later.

Having received a first round bye in the Brookes Mileson League Cup, Quakers will be at home to Spennymoor in the second round.