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Darlington fans get their wish in signing former Premier League star

Darlington fans get their wish in signing former Premier League star in David Wheater a year after he left League Two side Oldham Athletic.

The 35 year old, who was born in Redcar, has been recovering from injury having had some surgery on his back a few months back, and has been working with Darlo physio Danny O’Connor during his rehabilitation.

Late on Friday night at an event at Dormans Club in Middlesbrough, Wheater revealed he had joined the National League North outfit and could be in the squad against Chorley at Blackwell Meadows.

Manager Alun Armstrong was keen to bring him in, and told The Northern Echo that playing for Darlington in the second tier of the non league pyramid would suit the defender.

Armstrong said at the time: “He’s training with us, he’s doing his rehab with Danny and hopefully we can get him up to speed and take it from there.

“Everyone knows what the lad is capable of, let’s just get him through this stage and then see.

“He had the op because he wanted to play for another year or two, and I told him this level, playing part-time and living at home, might suit him at this stage of his career.”

Wheater played Premier League and Championship football for Boro and Bolton but last started a competitive game for Oldham in March 2020 in League Two.

As he was getting his career started, he was on loan to Darlington from Middlesbrough in the second half of the 2006-07 campaign, playing 16 times with his debut coming in the same starting line-up as Armstrong.

Armstrong added: “I’ve known Dave for a long time and I nearly signed him in the summer, but he said he didn’t want to come in and then be injured. So that’s credit to him, he wanted to get the op done first and then have a chat.

“Danny has been doing work with him and we’ll see where it takes us.

“He had the op November time, he’s only a couple of months post-op, it was a bulging disc in his back, so the timescale it usually three months before you can play competitively.

“He’s kept himself in decent shape and if he can get back playing that would be great.”


Youth career
1997–2004 – Middlesbrough

Senior career
2004–2011 – Middlesbrough – 140 games (9 goals)
2006 → Doncaster Rovers (loan) – 7 games (1 goal)
2006 → Wolverhampton Wanderers (loan) – 1 game (0 goals)
2007 → Darlington (loan) – 15 games (2 goals)
2011–2019 – Bolton Wanderers – 212 games (15 goals)
2019–2021 – Oldham Athletic – 34 games (4 goals)

National team
2002–2003 – England U16 – 2 games (0 goals)
2004 – England U17 – 7 games (0 goals)
2004 – England U18 – 1 game (0 goals)
2005–2006 – England U19 – 7 games (0 goals)
2007–2009 – England U21 – 11 games (1 goal)

Darlington fans get their wish in signing former Premier League star, taking to social media to share their excitement…

@Markodarlo: Yes @BigWheatz31 that’s what we like to hear.

@Colzoss: Great news. Best of luck David.

@Rennie__23: Best news @BigWheatz31 🖤🤍🖤🤍

@andyhoj: @BigWheatz31 welcome aboard the Darlo fun bus!! ⚫️⚪️⚫️⚪️⚫️

@n_w1970: @BigWheatz31 Good luck at Darlo mate

@MikeyDfc93: @BigWheatz31 please do not bend down to pick you’re wrestling fingers or try new moves ps welcome back! #upthedarlo

@wolveydarlopete: glad we can now officially say welcome to the madhouse, a perfect fit I would say. 💪💪💪💪

@JakobHeron1: 😍😍😍😍

Sean Allen: Up the Darlo, what a signing

Michael Doherty: Lawler and Ellis done a good job recently, he needs to fight for his place.

Ollie Lyndsey: Woah thats me bringing my boro mates to the game today

Ian Taylor: We fianlly got our man permanently this time – really wish him all the best

Pete Broadhurst: Hope he gets better treatment than he did at Oldham, such a much loved guy didnt deserved to be shit on by his previous club

Nathan Stone: Now this is a class signing, especially for that level of football, go show em what you got lad

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