Welcome to part three of our potential summer transfer targets!

Now we’ve rounded up our look at the potential hidden gems and underrated players down in the lower leagues, attention now turns to some of the ‘bigger name’ and more well known players who have been released from teams above us in the league ladder. Like last summer, a few of these lads listed here are unlikely to arrive the summer but as ever, we can dream.

Michael Ndiweni – Striker/Winger

Capable of playing the wing as well, Michael is the older brother of Spartans academy player Ryan Ndiweni. 

During the 2023/24 season, Michael made his Premier League debut for Newcastle United against Chelsea and was even named on the bench for Newcastle’s trip to PSG in the Champions League. Less than 2 months though, he’d be loaned out to Annan Athletic.

During his spell with the part time Scottish third tier side, he played 15 times and scored 2 goals. Now while PSG away to Cove Rangers away might be one of the biggest downgrades in human history, Michael still appears to have shone on loan up in Scotland.

A player with an IMMENSE of amount of flair, skill and ball control with the confidence to match his abilities – Michael would probably be best suited to the left flank, where he can cut in on his right and cause mayhem. Chances are he’s still looking to earn a move to a full time side, and if that fails he’ll no doubt be getting looked at by Darlington, Spennymoor and maybe even South Shields – so he’s likely out of our price range. That being said, a man can dream. 

Kyle Crossley – Left Winger

A slightly more realistic option, Kyle leaves the Toon without having made a first team appearance – however he did bag 7 goals in 14 games in the U21 Premier League this season just gone. He also made a few appearances in the UEFA Youth League against the likes of PSG, Dortmund and AC Milan.

Similar to Ndiweni, Kyle is your typical ‘Inside Forward’ that likes to cut in on his right foot and cause defenders headaches. He can play on the right flank and recently even played upfront for the U21’s, scoring twice in a game against Sunderland. 

Gateshead or South Shields feels like a good fit for him – but if they overlook him, then he may well be a great fit for us. He’s never had a loan anywhere so he lacks experience in men’s football, but I’d like to hope he’d adapt to this level rather quickly. 

Sam Collins – Left Back 

Decent left backs appear to be in short supply this summer it would seem. Sam however appears to posses all the attributes needed to succeed as a full back these days, with blistering pace and a wand of a left foot when it comes to crosses. 

Yet another youngster who never got a chance at senior men’s football while at Middlesbrough, Sam would of course have to adapt to what can be a rather physical league rather quickly. That being said Boro’s youngsters usually do just then when they go out loan.

Hopefully Sam is somewhat overlooked by the North East trio in the National League North – as all of them could probably do with another left back this summer.

Dan Langley – Goalkeeper 

Not that much needs to be said about Dan as we know just about everything there is to know about him following his first 2 spells at Spartans this season just gone. 

He’s just finished up a short stint with Oldham where he ended up being loaned to Scunthorpe – and I’ve no doubt he’ll be looking to secure a full time deal somewhere again. If he is unable to do so, Blyth should be looking to snap him up and fast. 

Dominant in the air with great distribution, Dan has a bit of work to do in respect of his shot stopping, but with some consistent football in the first team – I’ve no doubt he’ll improve in that area, he’ll become a solid first choice goalkeeper for years to come and perhaps even outgrow the club. 

Fenton John – Centre/Attacking Midfielder 

A now former Boro youngster who spent the latter half of the season at Morpeth on loan, a spell that was considered a VERY impressive one. Fenton put in some dominant attacking displays in the centre of midfield, scored a few goals himself and created many more, he’s considered to be a player with potential to play at a much higher level.

Having just been given the boot from Middleborough, I’d like to think were already looking at him. The full time sides may have their sights set on players higher up the pyramid, so I’d like to think we have a good chance of nabbing him as he seems to have been a very good player that has been overlooked by teams higher up.

Michael Woods – Centre Midfielder

I should clarify that Woods is North Yorkshire based (I believe) so this one is a bit unrealistic, but not totally out of the question. Originally a Leeds United scholar, he opted to sign a Youth deal with José Mourinho’s Chelsea when he left school – which resulted in a well publicised lawsuit. The Blues ended up paying a whopping for £5,000,000 for Woods and team mate Tom Taiwo. 

Woods went onto play for England up to U19 level, but failed to break into the Chelsea team and ended up Yeovil and Doncaster before dropping down to the Conference North with Harrogate Town. Spells with Hartlepool, Dover, Harrogate (again) and York City would follow throughout the 2010’s. By the time he’d left York, Woods had made nearly 300 senior appearances. 

The now 34-year-old spent last 2 seasons with South Shields, featuring 55 times and scoring 13 goals before departing the club this summer. His spell at Shields appears to have been impacted by injuries – and as a player who’d likely get a canny wage, we’d need to make sure he’s fit and ready to go before signing him to a contract – if we have a chance.

Callum Cooke – Centre Midfielder

An experienced attacking midfielder, seeing Cooke on Hartlepool’s release list was a bit of a shock. Cal is a creative midfielder who can pick a pass, hold the ball up well and release one hell of a long range effort at goal.

At 27-years-old he’ll likely be looking to stay in full time football. However, if that doesn’t happen though and Spennymoor don’t fancy throwing some cash at him, we may stand a chance. 

Cooke is the sort of player we’re crying out for as well – that being an experienced senior player who still has a good few years in front of him that may also be a leader in the dressing room. If we can afford him, he’s a difficult one to ignore.

Michael Spellman – Winger/Striker 

Another player we’ve already covered a few times, you all know the craic with Spellman. Capable of playing on ether wing and up top, he’s a very skilful player with an eye for goal. As for his best position though, that could be up for debate. 

After his spell at Spartans in 2023, Sunderland never bothered loaning him out again. Last season he featured 10 times for the U21’s and scored 3 times while nabbing 2 assists. That being said, they have only used him twice in 2024. 

Given his ability on the ball, he should be able tear it up in the NPL Premier Division. 

Connor Pye – Left Back 

One of only a few left back’s that that I can think of that’s worth a look in the summer, if the Morecambe native is planning on staying in the green and pleasant lands of the North East – he needs to be considered. 

Pye had a brilliant spell on loan at Morpeth the other year, but instead of sending him on loan to a team in the National League or then Football League – Sunderland decided to just let him to rot in the under 21’s. He was apparently injured for a time, though little to no information is available about said injury online. 

Similar to Collins, he can play anywhere on the left flank, has pace for days and can whip a hell of a cross in. On top of that, he’s capable of putting his foot in and isn’t all that bad in the air. He’ll no doubt be looking to secure some full time football right now, but if he stays in the area and the likes of Pools, Gateshead and South Shields don’t fancy him – Blyth should try and snap him up. 

Aidan Rutledge – Striker

At the time of writing this, Rutledge’s future is still up in the air (apparently). It’s likely going to be a total frenzy for this signature this summer once again. Despite Jack Maskell and Scott Robson being the ‘flavours of the month’ so to speak – Rutledge is a step above them both right now.

In the National League North for both Darlington and Scarborough, Aidan featured 29 times while scoring 11 goals. It’s also worth noting some of those games he featured in for Scarbados were on the wing (apparently). He did also feature VERY briefly for Gateshead earlier in the season, though it’s fair to say they haven’t given him a real chance.

Tall, strong and fairly quick – Rutledge is the sort of player we should be all in on this summer. I wouldn’t be sad at all if we offered him a literal boat load of cash this summer.

Harry Gardiner – Striker

Another familiar face, Gardiner’s featured 14 times for Spartans (a few as a sub) while grabbing 5 goals. Harry seemed to have a good relationship with Lewi Dickman who could have twisted his arm and brought him in, but as Dickman appears to have left the club (as of yet we’ve received no confirmation on that front).

A pacey player who’s a composed finisher, Gardiner would no doubt be able dominate in the NPL Premier Division, whether he’s used a striker or on the wing where could put his supreme dribbling skills to good use.

If he doesn’t get a chance in full time football somewhere, he’s a must pick up.

Tommy Robson – Left Back

Admittedly I just only just realised Tommy had been binned by off Scottish Championship side Queen’s Park once I’d originally finished this. So it seems like they’re maybe a few decent left backs available this summer after all!

The 28-year-old full back from Stanley started off at Sunderland, even making one appearance in the first team. He’s since spent the last 6 years up in Scotland, at the likes of Falkirk, Patrick Thistle and of course Queen’s Park before being released at the end of the season.

If Tommy does leave Scotland and return to his native North East, he’d be a real coup for us! Robson has a decent long throw on him, a phenomenal work rate and is a brilliant crosser of the ball. This one is a tad unrealistic, but if it did happen it would be a real statement of intent from the club.

Pete Jameson – Goalkeeper

He may well be an unrealistic target, but it would be difficult not to include Pete here and since he left Spartans, life just hasn’t been the same. A solid all round goalkeeper who developed into an excellent shot stopper in his 2 years at Spartans – Hartlepool, Gateshead and York will no doubt have an eye on him this summer, as will Spennymoor and Darlington.

That being said, if we have a canny wage budget for this coming season – I don’t think anyone would have a problem with the club throwing a chunk of that at Pete this summer.