DELIGHTED by his “fantastic” first signing of the summer, Mark Cooper has revealed Darlington beat off competition from League Two clubs to land James Walshaw.
And the Quakers boss insists the “ambitious, hungry” striker is only the first of several new faces at the Northern Echo Arena during the close-season.
Walshaw was Guiseley’s top scorer in the Conference North last season, and has penned a one-year contract with the option of a further 12 months. Formerly with Ossett Town, Wakefield and Farsley Celtic, the Dewsbury-born 27-year-old has also represented the England C team.
Cooper said: “It’s a fantastic signing for us and we’re delighted.
“James was a sought-after player this summer, there were a lot of top clubs after him, League Two clubs and a couple of big-spending Conference clubs.
“But we’re pleased to make an early breakthrough because it’s a difficult time of the year, when players and clubs are holding out for the best deal and keeping cards close to their chest.
“We met with James last week and he obviously liked the look of the place and what we had to say. He’s an ambitious lad who’s come through the leagues, and he’s hungry to do well.
“He fits into our work ethos. He’s strong, hard-working and has a good track record of scoring goals. He wants to achieve as a professional footballer and I’m confident he’ll do well for us.
“He spoke to a few clubs, one over Blackpool way, but he’s decided to sign for us and we’ve done well to get him.
“We’re being patient with the players we’re trying to sign. We don’t want to pay over the odds for a player who’d be coming here for the wrong reasons.
“That’s why we’re so pleased with the signing of James because he’s coming here for the right reasons. Work is ongoing on a number of other fronts, but we’ll continue to be patient so that we make the right signings.”
Meanwhile, Blyth Spartans have also made their first swoop of the summer, securing ex-Gateshead forward Graeme Armstrong from Harrogate Town.
“It’s an excellent club and it is great to have finally got things sorted, so that I can become a Blyth Spartans player,” said the 27-year-old, who started his career with Queen of the South and Annan Athletic before spells with then-named Dunston Fed, Gateshead and Harrogate.
“I know several of the lads already here and can’t wait for the season to get started.”