The 32 year old midfielder last played for the Colliers 12 years ago when Gary Middleton was manager of the Woodhorn Lane based outfit – and said is was great to be back.
“I was carrying an achilles problem when last season finished early,” he said, “I started pre season but in the first session I dropped out and then a few weeks later, we met West Auckland in the Cleator Cup. I played the first 45 minutes and didn’t feel right. I’d literally done no training until I came up to Ashington on Tuesday and so today coming on as sub (v Newcastle Benfield) was my first competitive minutes this season.”
Holystone-based Mullen who works in financial services, continued: “To be brutally honest, if I had started today, I know I wouldn’t have lasted the 90 minutes but I enjoyed the half hour I got. We had just equalised with the penalty when I was introduced so it probably settled the nerves down with the lads on the pitch. Paul Robinson came on the same time as myself and it was a case of the two of us trying to lend that bit of experience and just trying to get on the ball and play football because the pitch is perfect for that.”
He went on: “It was great to see familiar faces at the club and I know some of the players which made things easier to settle in. I’m an Ashington lad and I know its very cliché but it’s good to play for your home town club. There was possibly an option to go out on loan elsewhere - but I actually initiated the move to Ashington myself!”
He added: “There is a great group of players at the club. We trained on Tuesday and I could see that the lads were all technically very good. The league table doesn’t lie at the end of the day – and Ashington have got a good side so hopefully over the next six games I’ll just be trying to have some sort of impact.”
Colliers Boss Ian Skinner said: “Damen’s an Ashington lad who has been at the club before and personally I’ve known him for a number of years, coaching him as a junior. He’s got real quality – you don’t play the amount of games he has for the likes of Blyth Spartans if you haven’t - and he’s playing at Hebburn in a very good squad. He picked up a bit of an injury even before pre season so he hasn’t really played any football and there was an opportunity where he needed to get some minutes under his belt and so it has worked perfectly.”
He continued: “Damen’s a fantastic player who is just a perfect fit. We have him until at least the end of October so it’s the full month which sees us play seven games and we can give him the opportunity to get lots of football.”