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MEET THE PLAYERS

Posted on: Sat 04 Jul 2009

It's a brand new era for Darlington Football Club - and the Quakers began training this morning with a brand new squad!

Colin Todd took his first training session with his slender, 17-man squad today, after persuading 10 new players to join the League Two club once they're out of administration.

Here, we give you the low-down on Darlington's new-look squad to date:

Goalkeepers

David Knight
Born: Houghton-le-Spring, 15th.January 1987
Height: 6' 1
David has started his second spell at the club after previously having a three game spell on loan from Middlesbrough in season 2005-06. He had another loan spell at Oldham before he joined Swansea on a free transfer in August 2007. His first-team chances were limited at the Liberty Stadium, however, and he signed for Mansfield Town in the Conference last summer. He became a free agent this summer.

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Nick Liversedge
Born:
Hull, 18th July 1988
Height: 6' 4
Nick was signed by previous Darlington boss Dave Penney in the 2008 close season, and was loaned to Whitby Town to gain some experience. However, towards the end of the season after the club went into administration, he was regularly named as a substitute keeper, without making an appearance.

Defenders

Steve Foster
Born:
Mansfield, 3rd December 1974
Height: 6' 1
Steve turned down the chance of playing Championship football with Scunthorpe United in the summer of 2007, and instead signed for his old manager Dave Penney at Darlo. The former Doncaster player made more than 130 appearances for Rovers and was part of the club's successful 2002-03 and 03-04 seasons which brought successive promotions from the Conference to League One. Prior to his move to Doncaster in 2002, the Mansfield-born centre-back notched up more than 200 appearances for Bristol Rovers. He has been skipper of Darlo for two seasons, narrowly missing out on a triup to Wembley in his first and has scored three goals in that time. His popularity grew even more during the summer when he decided to stay with Quakers after the club came out of administration.

Ian Miller
Born:
Colchester, 23rd November 1983
Height: 6' 2
Ian signed for Darlo in January 2008 after having two previous loan spells from Ipswich. The centre-back began his career with non-league Bury Town, reaching the semi final of the FA Vase, before joining Ipswich in July 2006. He had a two-month loan spell with Boston United in the 2006-07 season, making 12 appearances for them, before returning to Ipswich. He then had his first loan with Darlington in February 2007, playing seven games, and returned to the Arena again in summer 2007, originally on loan, before joining the club permanently in January 2008. The popular defender played 25 games for the Quakers last season, but ironically is best remembered for the winning goal he scored against Rochdale in the first leg of the play off semi final at the Arena in May 2008. Like Foster, he decided to stay at the club when it came out of administration in the summer.

Ben Starosta
Born:
Sheffield, 17th January 1987
Height: 6'
Ben was released by Sheffield United this summer after beginning his career with the Yorkshire club four years ago. The 22-year-old right-back had loan spells at Tamworth (2006), playing four games and had a six-month loan spell with Brentford in 2007-08, playing 23 games. He then joined Bradford on loan in January 2008 and played 15 games for the Bantams before returning to Bramall Lane. Ben also had a brief loan spell with Aldershot at the start of last season, playing four games. The defender qualifies to play for Poland through his grandfather, and was called up to the Poland squad for the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup, playing all four games.

Matty Plummer
Born:
Hull, 18th January 1989
Height: 5' 10
Matty was released by Hull City this summer after beginning his career with the Tigers as a trainee. Although the centre-back never played for Hull's senior team, he was a regular in their reserve team last season, and was also an unused substitute in the Tigers' senior games against Watford in 2006 and Middlesbrough in the FA Cup in January 2007.

Craig James
Born:
Middlesbrough, 15th November 1982
Height: 6'
Craig is in his third spell at Darlington, after two loan spells earlier in his career. He began his career with Sunderland as a trainee in 2002 and made two appearances for the club - once in the Championship and once in the League Cup - and had a loan spell with Hibernian in 2002-03, playing 25 games. His first Darlo loan was in season 2003-04, when the club was in its first administration, before he signed a two-year deal with Port Vale in March 2002. The left-back played 83 league and cup games for Vale in 17 months before re-signing for Quakers on a free in August 2006. He made 29 appearances during his second, six-month stint at the Arena in season 2006-07 and was part of the team that beat Stoke City and lost on penalties to Reading in the Carling Cup. He joined York on loan in March 2007 and then signed for Scottish side Livingston. He was released in the summer of 2008, and had a spell at Blue Square North side Barrow.

Midfielders

Chris Lumsdon
Born:
Newcastle, 15th December 1979
Height: 5' 11
Chris is an experienced midfielder who was released by League One club Carlisle United this summer, after playing 191 games for the Cumbrians over the last five years. He began his career as a trainee with Sunderland in 1997 but only played four games for the Black Cats before signing for Barnsley for £350,000 in December 2001, having previously had loan spells with the Tykes, Blackpool and Crewe. He spent two-and-a-half years at Oakwell, playing 84 games for the Yorkshire club, before signing for Carlisle in August 2004.

Jeff Smith
Born:
Middlesbrough, 28th June 1980
Height: 5' 11
Jeff began his career with Hartlepool but was released in 1999 and after a brief spells at Bishop Auckland in their UniBond League days, was transferred to Premiership club Bolton. After impressing boss Sam Allardyce, signing a three-year deal in summer 2001, he made just eight league and cup appearances for the Trotters, as well as having loan spells with Macclesfield, Scunthorpe, Rochdale and Preston, before signing for Port Vale in June 2004. Jeff played a total of 103 league and cup games for the Stoke club over two-and-a-half years before Carlisle paid £60,000 for him in January 2007. The midfielder played 65 games for the Cumbrians before being released this summer.

Gary Smith
Born:
Middlesbrough, 30th January 1984
Height: 5' 8
Gary was released by Boro in July 2004 after graduating through the club's Academy set-up. He'd had a two-month loan stint with MK Dons and went on to sign for the club permanently that summer (2004), playing 80 league and cup games during three seasons. He was released by MK Dons in August 2007 and signed for Brentford in a deal which was later extended to the end of the 2008-09 season. The 25-year-old was released this summer, having played 36 games for the Bees.

James Bennett
Born:
Beverley, 4th September 1988
Height: 5' 10
A young midfielder, James was released by Hull City this summer after starting his career as a trainee with the Tigers. The 20-year-old had featured in Hull's reserves side after signing pro forms two years ago but failed to break into Phil Brown's senior team at the KC Stadium, and had a two-month loan spell with League Two club Lincoln City at the end of the 2008-09 season.

Josh Gray
Pos: Midfielder
Born: 22nd July 1991
Left sided midfielder Josh made his debut as a 17 year old for Quakers in the FA Cup against Droylsden in November 2008, and he made his league debut as a sub against Notts County in March 2009, soon after the club went into administration. After that he was regularly involved with the squad, and he made his full debut at Lincoln City.

Danny Groves
Pos:
Midfielder
Born: 10th December 1990
Centre midfielder Danny is another product of the club's youth system, and became part of the squad near the end of last season. He came on as a sub in the last game of the season at Chester City, and is sure to be figuring more often this season.

Dan Riley
Pos:
Midfielder
Centre midfielder Dan was part of the youth set up last season, and was on the bench on two occasions near the end of the season. He is another highly-rated player who will be making his mark.

Strikers

Lee Thorpe
Born:
Wolverhampton, 14th December 1975
Height: 6'
Lee brings a wealth of experience to Darlington, having enjoyed a 15-year career in the game so far, scoring more than 111 career league and cup goals from just under 500 games. The 33-year-old began his career with Blackpool in 1994 but signed for Lincoln City in 1997 and he scored 66 goals from 222 games in five years at Sincil Bank. He then signed for Leyton Orient and spent just under two years there, including a loan spell with Grimsby, before joining Bristol Rovers in 2004. He then had brief spells with Swansea, Peterborough, Torquay and Brentford before signing for Rochdale in January 2008. He scored seven goals in 44 games for the Dale before being released this summer.

Dean Windass
Born:
Hull, 1st April 1969
Height: 5' 10
Dean is Colin Todd's biggest summer signing to date, with the experienced former Middlesbrough striker providing years of experience at all levels of the game, and will be of great benefit in his role as player-coach. The 40-year-old has scored a total of 235 career league and cup goals, from 699 games, over a period of 18 years, and has commanded a total of £2.875m in transfer fees. Dean began his career in non-league football with North Ferriby United before his hometown club Hull signed him for the first time in 1991. He scored 57 goals from 176 games in three years, which prompted SPL side Aberdeen to fork out £700,000 for him in December 1995. He bagged 34 goals from 95 games during his two-and-a-half years at Pittodrie before joining Oxford United for £475,000 in July 1998. Dean spent just a season with United, scoring 18 goals in 38 games, before joining Bradford for £950,000 in March 1999. He scored 20 goals from 88 games - two of them against Darlo in the Worthington Cup -- before Terry Venables, as Boro's head coach, paid £600,000 for him in March 2001. He only played 46 games for the Teessiders in just under two seasons, scoring three goals, and after loan spells with Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United, he signed for the Blades on a free in January 2003. He then re-joined Bradford in July that year and enjoyed another four seasons with the Bantams when Colin Todd was in charge, scoring 66 goals from 155 games, before joining Hull on loan in January 2007, making a permanent £150,000 move six months later. Dean scored 25 goals from 66 games in his second stint with the Tigers, including the priceless play-off final goal against Bristol City at Wembley in 2008, which clinched Hull's first-ever promotion to the Premier League. He made five Premier League appearances in the first half of last season before having a three-month loan spell with Oldham Athletic, and was released by Hull at the end of the season. Ironically, Darlo had tried unsuccessfully to sign him four years ago.

Curtis Main
Pos:
Striker
Born: 20th June 1992
Curtis became the youngest ever outfield player for the club when he made his debut as a substitute in a league game at Peterborough in May 2008 when he was still a month short of his 16th birthday. He then became the club's youngest ever goalscorer when he scored the winning goal against Grimsby in February 2009, and he scored another goal against Aldershot a month later. Several clubs from higher up the ladder are keeping an eye on his progress.

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