Blyth Spartans sign five and let three go

Phil Airey in action for Newcastle United Reserves in a Northumberland FA Senior Cup final against Blyth Spartans at St James' Park.
Phil Airey in action for Newcastle United Reserves in a Northumberland FA Senior Cup final against Blyth Spartans at St James' Park.

BLYTH Spartans have added five new players to their squad with three leaving the club ahead of Saturday’s EvoStick Premier opener at Witton Albion.

Striker Phil Airey has signed after he was released by Newcastle United at the end of the last season.

The 19-year-old from Amble scored twice for Toon reserves as they beat Spartans 4-1 in the 2011 Northumberland FA Senior Cup final.

Manager Tommy Cassidy told said: “I’m pleased to get Phil on board, he comes with an excellent pedigree and good goalscoring record with Newcastle United.

“I’ve done some research into Phil and have checked with people into what he’s like and everyone I’ve spoken to has suggested that he’ll do a good job for us and will hopefully score some goals.

“Like most players who have been released by a professional club, he is keen to get back into the full-time game, I have told him that the best way to achieve this is to be scoring goals for us.”

Joining Airey through the Croft Park doors are Ashley Davies, Scott Blandford and Paul King.

Davies is a former Whitby Town frontman who played under Cassidy at the Yorkshire club.

He has joined after impressing in the friendlies against Team Northumbria and Newcastle United.

Blandford is a defensive midfielder or central defender and enjoyed a spell in the United States, before returning home to play for Ashington and Gateshead.

King is a midfielder who has come through the US college system.

He returned to the UK last year and saw out the season with Hebburn.

Cassidy said: “It’s good to get the three lads signed up.

“They have all been training with us for a couple of weeks and have done well.

“Getting the three of them registered means we can have a look at them in competitive games and see how they get on.”

Also joining is midfielder Jake Turnbull after featuring in several friendlies over the summer

The 19-year-old is a product of the Cramlington Juniors set up and played for Bedlington Terriers last season under assistant manager Paddy Atkinson.

Leaving Croft park are Abu Salim, Chris Fairless and goalkeeper Robert Birdsall.

Salim and Fairless have been on trial over the summer but Cassidy has decided they are not in his plans.

Irishman Birdsall has been released after playing a dozen games for Spartans towards the end of last season.

The 21-year-old Irishman joined from Tralee Dynamos last season and battled for the number one shirt with David Knight.

Cassidy said: “Rob’s done well for us, but we have Matty Hunter and Conor Grant on the books and we can’t really keep three keepers.

“Rob is a nice lad and I hope he goes onto to do well.

“It’s hard telling players that you are letting them go, but it was a decision that I had to make.”