Ex-Sunderland trio take charge at Darlington

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FORMER Sunderland midfielder Martin Gray has been appointed as the new Darlington manager, with former Black Cats colleagues Brian Atkinson and Tony Norman joining him for the club’s maiden Northern League campaign.

Gray last night agreed a two-year deal at the Quakers after previously enjoying two spells as the club’s assistant manager.

Atkinson, who has left Spennymoor Town, will be his number two, while Sunderland team-mate from the 1992 FA Cup final Norman will work as the goalkeeping coach.

Darlington were relegated to the First Division of the Northern League last week by the FA, but Gray is confident the Quakers can earn bounce back up the football pyramid at the first attempt.

Gray said: “It is no secret that Darlington is a football club that is close to my heart and this is a role that I just can’t wait to get stuck into, especially as the club is now fan owned. I am delighted to be given the opportunity to play a key role in getting Darlington back where it belongs after what has been a very difficult period for the fans and the club.”