DARLINGTON’s Ben Hedley is the latest player to commit his future to the club after signing a two-year deal at Blackwell Meadows.

Hedley has been a regular in the Quakers side having signed in the summer of 2020 and has gone on to make 73 appearances for the club.

Comfortable at right-back and left-back, the new contract means his stay at the club will be extended until the end of the 2023/24 season.

Manager Alun Armstrong said: “He’s done absolutely brilliantly Ben, he’s been fantastic.

“Since he’s come in, he’s been waiting for his chance. He’s always knocked on the door wanting to play in the team. Obviously George (Smith) and Griff (Kallum Griffiths) were doing good but when George got injured, Ben is the go to man.

“He’s a 7/10 all the time, any time I play him. You can see how much he has improved. He’s gone away and worked on things when we have asked him to because we see him as a full-back rather than a midfielder and I think he’s done exceptionally well.

“It’s a two year deal because beforehand he was probably second choice right-back. He’s worked ever so hard and now he’s put himself in a position where he is probably first choice.

“I think people forget Ben is only  23-years-old. He is still one that can get into the football league if he keeps going, keeps learning and keeps developing and that’s a big thing for Ben.

“He’s still young so we’ve got to keep developing these players and move them on. Ben could be one of the next ones.”

The Darlington number seven follows defender David Wheater and goalkeeper Tommy Taylor in extending their stays at the club.

“I am really happy to get it all sorted. I love playing here and I love playing in front of the fans” Hedley said.

“They have worked with us a lot about defensive positioning. I think game by game it is getting a little bit better. My position covering round from second balls. I think I am picking up a lot more and that’s with the help of them.”

After putting pen-to-paper on his new contract, Hedley is not giving up hope of making the top seven with the Quakers sitting seventh in National League North.

He continued: “We have given ourselves a bit more of an uphill battle than we would have wanted, especially with how we have done in the first half at Gateshead.

“We’ve come away with nothing and the weekend has been a bit disappointing but we’ve just got to look forward now. Got to pick up as many points as we can until the end of the season and see where we end up.”