Darlington’s wait to return to the town will continue well into the forthcoming season, and because of the new Heritage Park pitch manager Martin Gray would have no qualms about an extended stay at Bishop Auckland.
Quakers hope to begin groundsharing Darlington Rugby Club’s Blackwell Meadows sometime in 2014-15, though chief executive Martin Jesper admitted in yesterday’s The Northern Echo that the move will be after Christmas.
The club have spent two seasons as tenants at Heritage Park and begin a third when Warrington’s visit on August 16 kicks-off the campaign.
“The Bishop pitch is fantastic now, it’s better than it’s ever been. There’s a lot of work been done and it suits us,” said Gray, who saw his side defeat their landlords 2-1 at Heritage Park on Tuesday.
“We know where we are, we know where we’re starting the season and we might play the full season there.
“The longer it takes to start work at Blackwell, the more chance we’ve got of staying at Heritage Park. I’m not saying that’s happening, but we could play the full season at Heritage Park and if we do then great because the playing surface is fantastic.
“There’s been a lot of money been spent there, so there’s no room for excuses there, it’ll help us play our game.”
A trialist right-back, who Gray does not wish to identify, impressed on Tuesday and the manager says there is a chance he will sign for the club.
However, one player without a Darlington future is striker Nathan Fisher, who was put on the transfer list last night.
The development comes after a summer in which Gray brought in forward Graeme Armstrong and Liam Hatch, who can play in both attack and defence.
Quakers have a free Saturday this weekend as Gray chose not to arrange a friendly.
Meanwhile, Darlington season tickets will be available to collect from Quaker Retail at Blackwell Meadows from 10am on Friday.
Any supporters unable to collect their season ticket before the first game of the season will be able to pick it up outside the turnstiles on August 16 from 1.30pm.
Quaker Retail opening times: Monday 10am-1pm; Tuesday 10am-2pm; Wednesday 11am-3pm; Thursday 10am-2pm; Friday 10am-1pm; Saturday 9am-11am (home games only).