DESPITE spending more than a decade at Middlesbrough in two spells, David Knight was happy to make the short move down the A66 in search of first team football, writes PAUL FRASER.

The goalkeeper started preseason training with Darlington last Thursday and expects to formally sign terms towards the end of this month.

He feels like he was left with little choice after becoming frustrated with life as a backup goalkeeper at Boro.

His departure, along with confirmation that Ross Turnbull has joined Chelsea, left a void in Gareth Southgate’s squad, resulting in Boro landing 35-year-old Danny Coyne.

Rather than think about what might have been had he stayed around the Riverside Stadium for another season, Knight is now only concerned with the future – one, he hopes, as Darlington’s number one.

“It’s reassuring to know that I have come in as the first choice and it gives you confidence,”

he said. “But I know there is a goalkeeper below me, Nick Liversedge, so I know that I can’t take things for granted. He will be making it hard for me and it’s up to me to make sure I stay in the team.”

After beginning his Boro career at the age of 11 Knight seemed destined for the first team when he helped the club to their first FA Youth Cup success in 2004.

But while the likes of James Morrison, Andrew Taylor, Lee Cattermole and David Wheater stepped up to Premier League level, Knight was forced to leave for Swansea last year after loan spells at Darlington and Oldham.

His stay in South Wales was short-lived, however, and after a brief spell with Mansfield he was back at Middlesbrough playing for the reserves on a month to month contract.

“It was not ideal because sometimes you don’t know whether you are coming or going,” said Knight. “I stuck it out and now Darlington have given me the chance.”

■ Tickets for Darlington’s home pre-season friendlies are on sale.

Quakers play Sunderland, Newcastle and Middlesbrough this month at the The Northern Echo Darlington Arena. The Sunderland and Newcastle games are all ticket, priced £10 adults and £5 concessions, available from the main ticket office.

Darlington also play Hamilton Academical at home on Wednesday July 22, 7.30pm, followed by Boro on Wednesday July 29, 7.30pm. Tickets are available on the gate.