South Shields land Dunston UTS goalkeeper as summer strengthening continues

Liam Connell had a successful seven-year spell at Dunston UTS.
Liam Connell had a successful seven-year spell at Dunston UTS.
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Liam Connell has immediately set his sights on silverware after joining South Shields from Dunston UTS

The goalkeeper has agreed a move to Mariners Park, bringing his seven-year stay at Dunston to an end.

The 30-year-old was captain last season at UTS Stadium, and also a vital member of the side which won the FA Vase in 2012.

However, he felt the time was right to move on, with Shields convincing him to make the move to South Tyneside.

Connell - who made two appearances for the Mariners as a teenager in 2005 - said: "It's a good move for me.

"The ambition of the club is massive, and I just want to be part of what they've got this season.

"I want to be part of a winning team, so that's why I've joined Jon (King) and Shields.

"The players that have been brought in so far this summer have been unbelievable, so it will be nice to play with them and hopefully be part of a winning team.

"It's hard not to keep up with what Shields have been doing over the last year, because it's all over Twitter and Facebook with the supporters and the massive crowds the club gets.

"I want to be part of that, and hopefully we'll be able to move up and win something."

Connell is set to undergo shoulder surgery this week, but hopes to be back in time for the start of the season.

Ironically, his second competitive debut for Shields could come at Dunston, with the two sides set to face each other on the opening day of the Northern League Division One season on Tuesday, August 9.

The goalkeeper leaves Dunston with a heavy heart, but hopes the experience he gained there will stand him in good stead at Mariners Park.

Connell added: "Dunston remains close to my heart.

"I made some excellent friends there, the committee is spot-on and Billy Irwin, the manager, has been great with me over the last seven years.

"I've played with some fantastic lads there, and hopefully the experience I've got with them will rub off here.

"The fans at Shields were a massive part of my decision.

"I've been at Dunston for seven years and the fans there have been unbelievable, but playing in front of hopefully over 1,000 fans with top quality players would be brilliant."

Connell's arrival comes after Shields goalkeeper Scott Pocklington opted to return to former club Bishop Auckland.

He is the Mariners' fifth signing of the summer, following the captures of David Palmer, Matthew Wade, Craig Baxter and Gavin Cogdon.