AS Darlington look to shape their future off the pitch with a new stadium, the club are also looking to implement extra sessions for the playing and coaching staff to give themselves a more competitive edge next season.

The part-time side will look to add an extra night a week for the club to analyse the game at the weekend with the idea. It's understood that the session would be held on Monday evenings.

Earlier this month, plans were unveiled by The Northern Echo for a new 5,000-8,000 capacity ground to be built in time for the 2025/26 season. The ground would meet Football League standards as the Quakers look to build their ascent back to the EFL.

Working in this hybrid model for next season and working towards a new home is part of the Quakers looking to become a full-time team in the years to come.

Chief Executive David Johnston has harboured the ambitions for a number of years for Darlington to make their way back to the Football League and these steps mark out a trajectory for the club to take to get their.

While Johnston hopes the new working model will give the club a competitive edge, the quality of the National League North has been laid bare with full-time sides Gateshead and York City achieving promotion. “Last season it was quite evident" he told The Northern Echo.

“If you look at the league table at the end of the season, the sides that are full-time clearly have an advantage in terms of fitness, shape. They can use the drills when they have those extra training sessions to work through all the stuff that the clubs are part-time level don’t get. We train twice a week and then we play on a Saturday.

“It’s giving us the option to putting in an extra session in week so that if Alun (Armstrong) and Darren (Holloway) see something that they want to work on, whether it’s fitness levels, shape, what we do when they’ve got the ball or we’ve got the ball, they get the time to work with the players, look back at video analysis to make sure we are rectifying stuff.

“Getting the players twice a week and you get them in for a couple of hours each time, you’ve got to do your fitness, you’ve got to do your set plays, you’ve got to do your ball work etc. This isn’t enough.

“To compete effectively, we need an additional session. The hybrid piece is looking to put in an additional session one night a week that gives Alun and the team an opportunity to work on stuff that maybe in the past they haven’t been able to do so.

“The sides that get promoted are full-time. At the moment, we don’t have the financial capability to match that but what we are looking to do is put in an extra session in once a week to enable us to at least be a little bit more competitive on fitness and tactics.

“Ideally, I’d love us to be full-time but we won’t go full-time until we actually get our own ground. Obviously we have been in discussions about that recently."

The club hope the plans for a new ground will be partially backed by financial grants as they look to move away from their ground share of Blackwell Meadows, a ground used since 2016.

While heading back to a full-time model may take some time, the hopes are that Darlington can climb up the table whilst they remain a part-time outfit.

Johnston continued: “We’d love to go full-time but we can’t so what can we do? Let’s put in an extra session to work on the stuff that we need to work on and hopefully build that little bit of extra fitness.

“It’s quite clear when you are playing against a full-time side in the last 15-20 minutes, they keep bombing on. They’ve got the fitness levels there. Even bringing changes off the bench, we’re still not getting the fitness levels of a full-time club so hopefully moving to this will give us a more competitive edge next season."