Hebburn Town have completed their eighth signing of the summer after swooping for Shildon centre-half Dan Groves.
Hornets manager Scott Oliver moved quickly to plug a defensive gap caused by a freak injury to Jack Donaghy.
Highly-rated youngster Donaghy suffered a freak hand injury last week celebrating England’s last-gasp win against Tunisia and will be ruled out for two months after surgery.
Oliver hopes the signing of Groves will bolster his defensive options, with the player comfortable at both centre-half and full-back.
Groves made 16 first-team appearances for Darlington in League Two as a youngster. He had spells at Blyth Spartans and Spennymoor before signing for Shildon in 2015 and helped them to the league title in his first season at the club.
Oliver said: “Dan is a very experienced defender and is still only 28.
“He can play right across the back and has played in the Football League with Darlington. He is a great signing.”
Groves joins fellow new boys Louis Storey, Luke Gilhespy, Lee Kerr, Graeme Armstrong, Luke Sullivan, Andrew Stephenson and James Fairley as Oliver continues to revamp his squad ahead of the new season.
He hopes Groves will be the final piece in the jigsaw with the Hornets boss not planning on making any further signings before the season kicks off on August 4 against Penrith.
Hebburn returned to pre-season training last night, with their spending spree making them one of the early favourites for the Northern League title, despite only just being promoted from Division Two in May.