DARLINGTON have launched their latest ‘Boost the Budget’ campaign in an attempt to ensure the club have the best possible opportunity to challenge for promotion next season.

Last summer, Quakers fans raised £162,070 to swell Alun Armstrong’s playing budget, with the acquisition of the likes of Tom Platt, Toby Lees, Will Hatfield and Cameron Salkeld proving crucial over the course of the subsequent season in National League North.

At the start of this year, with Steve Watson having taken control of a side that was mired in relegation trouble, a further £32,000 was raised to help fund the acquisition of Cedric Main, Matty Cornish, Scott Barrow, Matty Young and Aidan Rutledge, all of whom played major roles in the club’s successful survival push.

Now, with Watson having established a strong foundation to build from next season, the Darlington Football Club Supporters Group have launched a new fundraising push with the aim of generating £175,000 before the end of the month.

A statement on Darlington’s official website said: “To attract the best and to retain the talent we already have is not easy (or cheap), but we're ambitious and we want to back Steve and Terry (Mitchell) as much as we can.

“Last May we were amazed at the £162,070 raised, but this time we think we can go even better, hence a May 2024 'Boost the Budget' target of £175,000.

“Football fortune income (ie, TV revenue, cup runs and player sales) can also add to the playing budget throughout the course of a season. But the more we raise now, the better Steve and Terry's prospects are of attracting top players during the close season.”

Watson signed a new two-year contract in the middle of next month to provide some long-term stability, with Mitchell also penning a new deal at Blackwell Meadows.