By Glen Robertson
Newton Aycliffe have agreed terms on a deal which will see Dan Mellanby return to Moore Lane Park.
The club have agreed a loan deal with Darlington and, subject to the league processing the paperwork, the former Bishop Auckland man will bolster Allan Oliver’s attacking options.
Mellanby will be unable to play against champions Spennymoor today, but could make his second debut away at Durham on Tuesday night.
Aycliffe then host Marske at home next Saturday (8th September) – a rearranged fixture after Dunston UTS were reinstated into the FA Cup at the expense of Celtic Nation – before the Newtonians travel to Heritage Park to face Mellanby’s old club Darlo.
The veteran forward will not be able to feature against Darlington 1883 as part of his loan deal.
Mellanby’s return will prove to be a popular among fans, players and staff at the club.
The 33-year-old was a central figure in Aycliffe’s meteoric rise from the parks of the Durham Alliance league to the top tier of the Ebac Northern League, playing 78 times in total for the Newtonians, scoring 19 times.
Mellanby had a spell in the Football League with the Quakers between 2001 and 2004 but a crippling back complaint curtailed a promising career and injury forced him to retire from the professional ranks.
From the Arena, Mellanby dropped down to Northern League level where he served at Crook Town under current Newtonians boss Oliver, playing an instrumental role as the Ambers reached the 2006 FA Vase quarter finals, as a second tier club.
Mellanby followed Oliver to hometown club Aycliffe in 2008, where Oliver formed a youthful side around him.
In just three years, Aycliffe won the Northern League’s second division title and Mellanby scooped the club’s Player of the Year and Supporters Player of the Year awards.
During the Newtonians’ maiden season in the top division, where they finished ninth, Mellanby played a more peripheral role, but still managed 28 appearances, scoring four times.