Michael Nelson reacts as Paul Blackett and Connor Thomson sign for Blyth Spartans

Blyth Spartans manager Michael Nelson has challenged new signings Paul Blackett and Connor Thomson to prove a point after adding them to his squad ahead of the new National League North season.

Former Blackburn Rovers youngster Connor Thomson signed for Blyth Spartans on Tuesday alongside Paul Blackett, on loan from Gateshead.
Former Blackburn Rovers youngster Connor Thomson signed for Blyth Spartans on Tuesday alongside Paul Blackett, on loan from Gateshead.

Former Newcastle United and Sheffield United academy striker Blackett joins on a season-long loan from Gateshead and will relish the opportunity to play regular first-team football after struggling to find a regular place in the Heed’s starting line-up during his time at the club.

Blackett joined Gateshead after a short trial period last summer and scored four goals in 16 appearances before joining Northern Premier League club Whitby Town on loan.

He made the most of his time on the North Yorkshire coast by plundering his way to 10 goals in 11 games for Chris Hardy’s side before penning a new deal at Gateshead this summer.

Nelson believes that Blackett will arrive at Croft Park with a hunger to prove himself in non-league’s second tier – and hopes that Spartans can be the beneficiary of his efforts.

He said: “Paul is a good player, he’s really hardworking and somebody that provides a real goal threat.

“I think he has had frustration in not getting a lot of game time at Gateshead, so he went out on loan to Whitby and got goals at their level.

“I think it’s now time for him to prove himself at National League North because I think he is good enough to do that.

“He has that hunger to succeed and hopefully we can help him do that.”

Former Blackburn Rovers forward Thomson is another player that will arrive at Croft Park after a spell with Gateshead.

The 24-year-old spent two seasons at the International Stadium before he was released during the summer.

Thomson was linked with moves to National League clubs – but he will now resume his career as part of Nelson’s squad at Spartans.

The Spartans boss said: “Connor is a bit more physical than Paul in terms of size and stature.

“He’s got experience in the league above, and hopefully he can help the younger players in our squad.

“He will bring another attacking threat and a bit of physicality.

“They are two good additions to our squad.”

Nelson is still looking to add to his ranks ahead of the new season and is believed to be targeting a centre-back and a midfielder.