Alun Armstrong is making progress on securing Darlington players to new contracts, though there remains decisions to be made on a handful of his squad.

Versatile Ben Hedley is some supporters’ selection for player of the year, and he this week became the latest to commit to Quakers by penning a two-year deal.

“He’s been brilliant for us and people forget he’s only 23,” said Armstrong. “He’s a midfielder, who wanted to play midfield, and we’ve converted him into a fullback.”

Nathan Lowe and Dom McHale are on loan with Darlington for the remainder of the season, effectively a trial period for them both.

Armstrong added: “There’s one or two that I’ve got to make a decision on. Lowey is here on loan, he had to wait for his first start and I thought he was brilliant on Monday at Gateshead.

“He’s different to what we’ve got which is good to see, so I would like to see more of him.

“Dom is going to have to get himself fit, and he knows that. He’s technically brilliant, but fitness-wise he needs to do more. The kid is working on it, that’s the good thing.

“There’s still contracts to be earned, but I am starting to look further afield with some targets.

“Next week there should be a couple more. We’ve agreed terms with a couple, and there’s a couple of options that have been activated.”

Darlington face Brackley on Saturday at Blackwell Meadows, when there will be no David Wheater due to a groin injury, so Danny Ellis will start. He says he feels much better after recovering from Covid.

Jake Cassidy has also recovered from Covid, while Cameron Thompson and Danny Rose were both due to train on Thursday evening after overcoming their respective injuries.

Darlington have dropped to 11th, four points adrift of the play-off places, while on Monday second-top Brackley lost for the first time 19 games when they were beaten 1-0 by Boston United.