By Brian Bennett

Ashington FC manager Ian Skinner has described the signing of striker Dan Maguire as being the ‘cherry on the top of the cake.’

The Colliers announced Maguire’s arrival to Woodhorn Lane on Saturday taking Skinner’s tally of newcomers during the close season to six after Robbie Dale, Andrew Cartwright, Lee Mason, Darren Lough and Damen Mullen all put pen to paper recently.

And afterwards, a beaming Skinner said: “We are delighted to add Dan Maguire to the squad for the coming season in what is another great coup for the club and for me, it is the cherry on the top of the cake. You only need to look at the career Dan has had to date and the clubs he has represented to see the quality and attacking threat that he will bring to our squad. I have worked with Dan before when he was a young player representing the County and I have kept in touch and followed his footballing journey.”

He continued: “Dan had many clubs vying for his signature, many who offered him better financial packages than the one he has agreed with Ashington. However he wanted to help the club move forward with what we are trying to achieve, in an environment where he could enjoy his football and hopefully return to the form which saw him score all those goals for Blyth Spartans in the National League North. It did help that Dan knew, as well as having played with a number of the players we have brought to the club in the close season and it is hoped that this will help him settle in quickly and hit the ground running.”

He went on: “Last season, we played a lot of games without a recognised centre forward with Dean Briggs operating as makeshift striker but the signing of Dan gives us another option and with Adam Johnson and Jamie Hanson back from injury, we will have competition for players in forward positions.”

Skinner went on: “I have always said since I returned to the club that I wanted to progress year on year. Last season was a good year which ended with us winning the Ebac Northern League’s Division One cup. Next season, we as a group want to build on last season’s success and see if we can take the next step forward and the six signings we have made, we feel will give us a good chance of achieving our aims. The fact that we have been able to sign the six players that we have and add them to what was a good group last season, shows that the club is very much moving in the right direction and that Ashington is a club on the up.” Skinner’s players return for pre season training this week and he added: “It has come around very quickly to be honest. However it’s great to bring the players in and work with them which give us a better chance to be prepared for the start of the season.”