South Shields add to squad with signing of defender from Icelandic league

Darren Lough spent five years playing in Iceland.
Darren Lough spent five years playing in Iceland.

South Shields have completed the signing of former Newcastle United youngster Darren Lough.

Lough, who is most adept at left-back but can also play in the centre of defence, joins after his departure from Icelandic top flight side IA Akranes.

He is available to make his debut in tonight's Durham Challenge Cup quarter-final against Hartlepool United at Mariners Park.

Lough came through the ranks at Newcastle, captaining the Magpies' reserve side before leaving St James's Park in 2010.

An impressive two-year stint at hometown club Ashington followed, before he signed for his first Icelandic club, KA Akureyri, in 2012.

After five seasons playing in the Nordic country, Lough has now returned home to the North East of England, and has secured international clearance to complete his move to Mariners Park.

He agreed to join after being impressed with the progress of the club, and having spoken to former Shields assistant manager Gary Middleton, who was his manager during his time at Ashington.

The 27-year-old said: "For the last six months, I've been watching South Shields and how they've progressed.

"I spoke to Gary Middleton when he was here, and he explained a lot as well. Gary said the club was fantastic and that everything about it was professional.

"I've been keeping an eye on it, and the development of the club, the players they've got and the way they're playing is fantastic. That's the main reason I came here."

Lough met his new team-mates two days before the 7-0 win at Jarrow Roofing earlier this month, and has trained with the squad since then, while he was part of the travelling party to Southampton on Saturday for the FA Vase tie against Team Solent.

He added: "I've trained a couple of times now and the sessions that are put are fantastic.

"The speed of training is brilliant and you've got to be on your game all the time to get in the team.

"Lee (Picton) explained to me the plan of wanting to move through the leagues.

"From the last six months of watching South Shields, I've been hoping that they were going to push on.

"Everybody wants to be a part of it and I'm just grateful that I'm here now.

"I'm looking forward to playing in front of the fans and showing what I can do."