Well the first part of this seemed to go down pretty well, though I’ve already heard that some of those players were off the table but, with it being a more optimistic look at players that’s to be expected. That being said, here’s another 10 or so players who might be decent pick ups for Spartans IF they were up for the move, with a few loan targets included as well so, lets get into it.

Centre Back – Elliot Forbes

Comfortable playing in Centre Midfield as well, 24-year-old Forbes would probably be a more realistic loan signing. Having spent some time out over the last 2 years with a few injuries, he’ll likely want to be getting some first team football under his belt ASAP. 

A solid defender who’s good on the ball and has a fair amount of pace for a centre back, Forbes would likely complement an older a more expired centre back partner such as Tait or Magnay.

Of course, if it is a loan signing it’s not a long-term fix, but at least he’ll fill a big gap for now. Plus, Gateshead seem to be bringing in some decent players this summer so a loan move might be perfect for both parties.

Centre Back – Tom Coulthard

A more of a non-nonsense centre back who seems to have spent his entire career at Stockton Town rising all the way through the leagues with them, Tom is considered one of the few players in the Northern League and Northern Premier League East who would be capable of stepping up and being an influential player in the National League North.

Racking up over 400 appearances in over 10 seasons with The Anchors, Tom is a ‘proper’ centre back who’s a strong and solid tackler. Composed in pressure situations, he also seems to have a bit of pace about him as well, and apparently can smash a free kick in.

Of course, with him being under contract at Stockton, he’d cost a few grand and I’d expect he’s very settled at Stockton but, if he fancies testing himself at a higher level and we can agree a fee, he’d very likely be a solid pick up.

Centre Back – Finn Cousin-Dawson

One we know all about. Again, this one would likely be a loan move but after his form for Spartans in the latter part of last season, the Stockton born defender feels like a must get if Bradford City aren’t planning on giving him a chance.

Common sense would surely say Bradford loan him out to a National League team if they aren’t willing to give him a chance in the first team, and again he wouldn’t be a long-term solution to the centre back problem, but we know he’s quality. Given the chance he seems like a sensible pick up on loan.

Left Back – Jordan Marshall

Another ridiculously ambitions one here but again, let me fucking dream. With Michael Liddle turning 34 later this season and having had a few injuries last season, sadly it may be time in the near future to look for another left back that can be as influential as Lids has been over the years.

Jordan is a local lad who after being released by Carlisle United as a scholar, got his start at Queen of the South in the Scottish Championship making over 165 appearances. In 2019 he joined Dundee FC, where he’s spent 4 seemingly successful seasons, one of them being in the Scottish Premier League. This summer he wasn’t offered a new deal and left the club after helping them secure promotion to the SPL once again.

A pacey full back with an incredible work rate who seems to be extremely consistent and loves to get forward to swing crosses into the box, Jordan would be a sublime addition.

The only downside being though, he’s mates with Rhys Evans.

Left Back/Centre Back – Nathan Newall

A more realistic option at left back, Nathan came through at Guiseley through their youth set up before joining up with Sunderland in the summer of 2021. He’d feature for the U23’s a lot over the next 18 months before joining Darlington on loan in January 2023, where he’d have an impressive loan spell racking up 16 league appearances.

Comfortable playing at left back and centre back, Nathan looks like he’s a bit of an all rounder as a defender who’s comfortable on the ball and can hoy a tackle in. He won’t be the paciest of full backs around, but he’s got more than enough about him to shine at this level of football.

Darlington will likely be in for him with his recent loan spell fresh in the memory, and Nath is from Bradford (poor lad) so he may move back home and sign for a team more local to him.

Centre Mid – Josh Dixon

Dixon is a Carlisle lad who’s came through the ranks at The Cumbrians and managed a bit of game time before a brief loan spell at Workington. He will likely have options North of the border and a chance to stay in full time football but if he’s up for the travel to Blyth, he’s got the tools to be a top-class centre mid in the National League North.

Dixon is seemingly a player who’s very comfortable on the ball, works hard and knows how to pick a pass out that can unlock a defence. The only issue with him is his injury record. With 3 cruciate knee ligament injuries in the past few years at only 22 years old, Josh would naturally be a risk due to his injury issues.

Coming back after several cruciate injuries isn’t exactly an easy thing, not that I know fuck all about it like but having listened to Christ knows many podcasts and read several interviews from players who’ve had serious injury setbacks, I can surmise that Josh would be a risk if we gave him a contract.

His quality as a player though still shines through and he would be a smart pick up on non-contract terms if he was interested.

Centre Mid – Isiah Cornet

Admittedly I don’t much about the lad, but he looks like one of the better youngsters released from the North Easts ‘big 3’ this summer and some transfer account on twitter reckons we should sign him, so let’s have a deeks.

Born in France, he’s been at Middlesborough since 2018 so he’ll be completely smogified by now and immersed in all the local culture. A regular for Boro’s youngsters over the years, he’s only had the one loan spell which was at Spenny late last year where he didn’t get much of a go.

He’s supposed to able to cover everywhere across the midfield and is best off in an attacking midfield sort of role. Bags of technical ability and energy is what Jason Ainsley described him as having, which certainly wouldn’t go amiss in our midfield. He’s comfortable in a number 10 role and is considered a ‘flair player’ so he’s surely worth a look.

Right Wing – Kevin Hayes

Another one from Stockton who’s considered one of the few players who could make it in the National League North, Hayes is proper ‘Inside Forward’ who’s left footed and an exceptional dribbler who’s technically gifted and grafts non-stop. He’s also got enough pace about him to trouble just about any full back at NLN level.

Like Tom Coulthard, he’s likely very settled at Stockton having come through the youth ranks and spent about a decade with the club. He’d also command as fee as he’s already on contract for next season. With his record of 76 goals from the wing in 235 appearances though, we could do much worse than him.

Centre Attacking Mid/Left Wing/Striker – Jordan Preston

The Scotsman should be no stranger to the Spartans faithful as he’s played against us on many occasions over the years. After starting out at Blackburn he’s bounced around Gateshead, Boston United, Halifax, Guiseley and Spennymoor in recent years.

Though he’s only 27, he’s by no means the quickest player about but he’s got superb first touch and has the vision to play killer balls into the path of strike partners and onrushing wingers and still knows where the goal is given a chance. In a 4-4-2 he’d operate as a second striker or as a number 10 in a 5-man midfield. 

Problem here is though, I believe he’s Yorkshire based, and I very much doubt he fancies a 4 hour round trip for training twice a week. 

Right Wing/Left Wing/Striker – Tom Allan 

A Delaval lad who started out at Newcastle, he’s had loan spells with Accrington Stanley and Greenock Morton. He has played some first team football for Newcastle making his debut in the FA Cup in January 2020, grabbing an assist in Newcastle’s 4-1 victory over Rochdale.

After his release from NUFC he inked a 2-year deal with Gateshead last summer, but hasn’t seen a great deal of first team football – spending most of last season on loan at Spennymoor. 

Tom is known for having bags of pace and usually plays on the shoulders of defenders, looking to use his pace to get in behind and crate chances for himself or teammates.   

If Gateshead are looking to move on from him, we’d likely need to pay a decent fee but it’s more likely Gateshead will look to loan him out once again, be it for 6 months or the season. If he stays injury free and finds some form, he’d no doubt flourish at Blyth. 

Right Wing/Left Wing/Striker – Joe Grey

A lad who’s been considered a ‘hot prospect’ at Hartlepool United for years, the 20-year-old Newcastle lad has already racked up 75 senior appearances for Hartlepool, scoring 6 goals. While those stats don’t make for great reading, Joe has played in a pretty shite Pools team over the last 2 years and started to drop out of the team last season.

A very quick and hard working player with bags of technical ability, Joe is still considered by some Hartlepool fans as a prospect so realistically, this one would be another loan signing if could get it done. I’d expect others in the region may be looking to take him on loan if Hartlepool did make him available but if we did manage to bring him in, he’d be a stand out player.

And that is pretty much it as far as speculative transfer targets go! As for some who didn’t quite make the list, I did consider listing Nathan Harker who’s done really well over the last 2 years but Alex Mitchell seemingly has the starting role locked down. It’s also the same reason I didn’t include Pete Jameson as I believe he’s still available for transfer, but he’s of course being linked with Gateshead and South Shields.

Nathan Dale is a centre back I’m a fan of but he’s just signed a new deal with Marske after returning from Iceland earlier this year, so that’s a non starter. Did notice Connor Newton was yet to sign a deal with South Shields, but he did miss a load of last season for undisclosed reasons so I don’t know if we’ll be in for him. Alfie Doherty who’s been released by Middlesbrough might be a decent prospect, but admittedly I don’t know enough about him to include him on this list. Another lad departing Carlisle is Lewis Bell, but the winger has spent just about all of last season on loan at Gretna in the Lowland league, which isn’t a great level of football.

Though he’s signed a deal with Gateshead, we still may see Aiden Rutledge at some point if they want to see him get some game time. As for other Heed players, Aaron Martin is someone I believe we’ve been linked with in the past but I believe he’s already set to move to Darlington.