Blyth Spartans have agreed terms with right-back David Atkinson on a contract basis to keep the former Carlisle United defender at Croft Park until the end of the 2018/19 season.
The 24-year-old – who returned to Spartans after a short spell with Icelandic side Íþróttabandalag Vestmannaeyja (IBV) – has put pen to paper to stay with the National League North side until at least the end of next season and Atkinson is delighted his future is finally settled.
“It feels good to sign the deal, I’ve been speaking to Alun for a couple of weeks now, but due to the rules of international clearance I was unable to sign a contract until now.”
The right-back returned to the club in November and has made 11 appearances this term for Spartans, but was only able to sign on non-contract terms, meaning other clubs were able to speak to him under certain conditions.
“I’ve had a few offers from league clubs, but when I spoke to Alun about his ambitions for Blyth it stuck out to me. I’m enjoying my football here at the minute and we have a good set of lads in the dressing room.”
Atkinson also lauded the Spartans faithful after signing his new deal, and hopes the team’s performances will see a packed Croft Park for the remainder of the season.
“We’re a well-supported club both at home and away from Croft Park, especially when we get a full house here, it’s a great place to play football.”
The former Carlisle United man pointed to the management team as a big reason why he has chosen to extend his stay at Blyth.
“Alun’s a great manager, that’s a huge factor for me staying here, he just puts an emphasis on playing football the right way, he wants us to play football.”
And Armstrong is delighted to have signed a player of Atkinson calibre on an 18-month contract.
“We’ve had clubs sniffing about, offering contracts – which is something we couldn’t do anything about as David hasn’t been on a contract since he returned to the club due the international rules.”
“Him deciding to stay – not just for this season, but next season too – is a massive bonus for me and this club as players the quality of David – and Jarrett – have got us to where we are now.”
Atkinson has settled back into the side well since returning from Iceland, and he believes the club should be aiming for a playoff finish this term.
“My aim is to make the playoffs, and on a personal level it would be nice to score my first goal for the club, I think it’s about time.”