DARLINGTON striker Luke Charman has sealed a move to League Two side Rochdale for an undisclosed fee.

Charman, who has been in red hot form for the Quakers this season, has signed a two-and-a-half year contract with Dale and links up with current manager Robbie Stockdale who spent time in his playing career with Middlesbrough and had caretaker spells in charge of Sunderland.

It’s understood a number of Football League clubs were interested in signing Charman during the January transfer window including Hartlepool United and Bradford City.

The 24-year-old was fourth in the National League North goalscoring charts with 12 goals this season.

The move to Dale ends his 18 month association with the club after being released by Newcastle United. After signing in the summer of 2020, he went on to make 33 appearances in total scoring 19 goals.

Upon completing the move, Charman said: “It’s been just over a week I’ve had in my mind that I was going to be leaving (Darlington), and as soon as I came here, I was raring to go.

“Back in the Football League is where I want to play. Meeting up with Robbie (Stockdale), talking about what a good dressing room we’ve got, the style of play, it was an easy decision in the end. A lot of things fitted in, and it was a really good option for me.

“He (the manager) said I’m coming in to play a role, but he also wants me to play my game. I feel like I’ve done pretty well in the first half of the season with Darlington, but it was the time for me to take that step up and try to challenge myself again, and get back into the league, which is where I want to be.”

Charman's departure will be a considered blow to the Quakers who are in and around the National League North play-offs in 11th place. But manager Alun Armstrong recognises the how big the opportunity is for the striker who has been given the chance to play at a higher level.

He said: “Luke has got loads of potential as he’s shown with us over the last 18 months, and he deserves a chance to play at a higher level.

“We couldn’t stand in his way once we knew that Rochdale were interested. One of our aims as a club is to develop players and help them progress their careers.

“It’s been a pleasure working with him, and I’m sure he’ll be a success at Rochdale.”