STEVE Watson is excited by Darlington's new striker Jack Maskell and says the teenager can go on to achieve big things in his career.

Maskell has put pen to paper on a two-year deal with Quakers, joining from Dunston UTS for an undisclosed fee.

The 19-year-old turned heads of several clubs last term after hitting 26 goals in 36 games in the Northern Premier League East Division, including a hat-trick in the play-off final against Stockton Town.

There was a lot of interest in Maskell this summer but Darlington won the chase for his signature.

Watson said: “We are delighted to welcome Jack to Darlington. It’s a great testament to everyone who helped get this deal done and needless to say that this is a signing that without the generosity of fans and their faith in us, would never have been possible.

"Jack is a very exciting young striker who scores all kinds of goals, he is a big aerial threat and has a work ethic that is second to none. Myself and Terry (Mitchell) along with the current squad are looking forward to helping him progress to the next stage of his career. This career could go anywhere."


The capture of Maskell comes after Darlington fans pledged almost £190,000 in this summer's Boost the Budget, an incredible figure that has blown away bosses at Quakers.

The generosity of supporters - with 890 pledging - will allow Watson and his right hand man Mitchell to pursue their leading targets this summer, with chief executive David Johnston "excited" by the players on the club's transfer wishlist.

Johnston said: "Every year I run out of superlatives, the fans continue to amaze me.

"I thought £175,000 was a challenging target, to raise £189,000, I was just over the moon and so were Steve and Terry.

"This is vital in terms of what we're trying to do with the squad. We have a core squad but Steve wants to bring in five or six good quality players then supplement the squad with some loans from the local professional clubs.

"It's a competitive market so the more money that comes in the better chance we have. Now we're sitting down and looking at how best to use that money.

"The target list is there. We're in conversation with a number of players and we have to make sure we get the right balance in the squad."

Season ticket sales will further boost the club's transfer kitty this summer, with Watson and Mitchell looking to make a flying start to the campaign and build on their brilliant finish to last term, when they defied the odds to escape National League North relegation.

Looking ahead to next season and the club's aims, Johnston said: "I'll start with the basics, not to go through what we went through again. That nearly broke a lot of people.

"Secondly, we have to recruit well. The targets we're talking to I'm excited by. I'd like to think we'll start solid and let's see where the season ends."