DARLINGTON midfielder Marcus Maddison is in a much better physical condition compared to when he arrived at the club earlier this summer according to manager Alun Armstrong.

Maddison, 28, has featured in a number of pre-season games over the summer and scored plenty of goals, most recently in the club's final friendly before the league season which ended in a 2-2 draw against Whitby Town.

Maddison, a former Peterborough United, Charlton Athletic and Bolton Wanderers midfielder, has slipped down the leagues as he looks to enjoy his football again with the Quakers.

He is set to make his full debut in this weekend's National League North opener against Gloucester City at Blackwell Meadows and Armstrong is confident that his fitness is up to scratch.

Speaking after the draw at the Turnbull Ground, the Quakers boss said: “It was always going to take a lot of work from Marcus but today (Whitby) is the best I’ve seen him move. He’s running a lot better and a lot more comfortably. He’s still got niggles but the kid is working through them. He’s in a much better condition than when he was when he first come.

“You’ve seen glimpses of his quality and he probably could have added a couple more goals today. He’s tried to dink one when he’s through and for me, he needed to put his foot through it. It goes in the back of the net with the quality he’s got.

“Pre-season is a tough one. No really like it and you’ve got to get through them. You’re trying to get through without any injuries, which is the main thing, and then the real game starts this week.

“We’re in a lot better position than we were last season, that is a certainty."

Meanwhile, Darlington will assess Danny Rose, Jarrett Rivers and Adriano Moke in training this week ahead of their National League North opener.

Rose has missed much of pre-season through injury, Rivers has picked up a thigh problem whilst Moke is suffering from a tight hamstring he picked up at the weekend.