IT may have only recently started hosting competitive rugby matches, but football has already come home to a North-East stadium, albeit temporarily.

The 25,000-seat Northern Echo Arena, in Darlington, is now home to the town’s Mowden Park rugby club, which bought the stadium following the departure of Darlington FC last year.

Players from Ukrainian side FC Metalist Kharkiv have been training at the arena ahead of their Europa League clash with Newcastle United on Thursday (February 14).

Mowden coach Danny Brown said allowing other organisations to use the facilities would bring extra revenue for the club, which bought the stadium in a seven-figure deal and has plans to develop adjoining land into training pitches.

Mr Brown said: “Metalist did not have suitable training facilities in place, so contacted us to see if we could accommodate them.

“We welcome inquiries about using our facilities, provided it is not going to damage any part of the arena, or compromise what we are doing on the rugby side.

“Something like this increases revenue for us, as well as creating interest.”

Mowden’s second game at the arena last weekend ended in a 27-28 defeat to Hull Ionians.

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