He played a key part in Darlington’s great escape from relegation, and now Scott Barrow wants to make the move from York City permanently, saying: “I want to sign for Darlo.”

The 35-year-old was on loan to The Quakers in the second half of the season, brought to Blackwell Meadows by Steve Watson for his leadership skills as well as his ability to shore up the left side of the defence.

He had been injured for over 18 months, but became a popular player at Blackwell Meadows in 19 appearances for Darlington, helping the team survive in National League North.

“At the moment, I am under contract at York and that’s up in June so I’ll be a free agent,” he told the Sunday Sun.

“At the moment, I’m just enjoying my time off because it was pretty intense for the second half of last season after coming back from 20 months out but I am just enjoying myself.

“Hopefully, I get to sign for Darlo, I want to sign for Darlo. I enjoyed my football there last season, I was playing with a smile on my face and that’s all I want from football at this point in my career.

“There has been interest from back home close to Swansea - but I don’t want to go back home. I see myself as a North East lad now.

“They’ve taken me in, I’ve been here seven years since I joined Gateshead and I pride myself as a full-time Geordie now.

“I want to stay in the area and obviously there are a lot of clubs around here but I want to speak to Darlington.”

A cruciate ligament injury sustained in York’s National League North play-off final win in May 2022 resulted in the Welshman being on the sidelines until becoming Watson’s first Darlington signing in January.

“If you asked me in November or December last year, when I had numerous conversations with my family, I just didn’t know what I wanted to do after coming back from an injury and not playing,” he added.

“I was being pushed out of the club, it was tough not knowing what I wanted to do but Watto took a chance on me after playing for him before and it went from there.

“I played three games in seven days and I’m a hardworking lad, I’m not talented, I just work hard and that’s what supporters want to see.

“I wanted to play for the badge, we completed a great escape and I want to go somewhere I’m loved and I enjoy my football - and that’s why Darlington is the place I want to go."

Meanwhile, striker Akwasi Asante has left Darlington with his contract cancelled by mutual agreement.

He was the last of Josh Gowling’s signings still at the club, and will be remembered as someone who spent more time injured than he did on the pitch, failing to score in nine appearances.

A club statement read: “After talks between the club and the player, both parties have agreed to cancel Akwasi's contract subject to FA and National League approval.

“We would like to thank Akwasi for his service with us, and wish him all the best in the future.”