With the new season only a few days away, Blyth Spartans are pleased to announce that manager Mick Tait has made several breakthroughs in the transfer market to secure three quality additions to his squad, with the signing of midfielders Nicky Deverdics (ex-Gretna and Barnet), Calvin Smith (ex-Durham City and Spennymoor Town) and central defender Callum Morris (Republic of Ireland Under 21 International and ex-Newcastle United).
Deverdics, 22, operates as a central midfielder, but has also played on the left side of midfielder and at left back.
He started his career at Newcastle United playing several times for the reserves, following his release from the St. James Park outfit he had brief spells with Gateshead and Bedlington Terriers, before joining Gretna in the Scottish First Division (where he was a team-mate of current Spartans’ midfielder Michael Tait) and was a key first team member for Gretna in the Scottish Premier Division the following season.
Following the demise of Gretna, the elegant, skilful midfielder made the move south to play for League Two side Barnet. two relatively successful seasons at Underhill saw him play a total of 51 games, scoring 2 goals and win the Barnet FC ‘Most Improved Player’ in his first season, but he was released at the end of the 2009-2010 season.
He featured in the earlier pre-season friendlies, particularly impressing in the opening encounter with Berwick Rangers, but suffered a thigh strain that saw him a few games. This injury has now thankfully healed and Deverdics is raring to go for the new season, as he showed with an impressive second half cameo against Durham City on Saturday.
Manager Mick Tait commented “Nicky has been with us for the whole of pre-season and I know that he is keen to get back into the full time game, as he has been involved in the professional game all of his adult life. I have had a chat with him and we have agreed that should he receive an offer he is free to leave, but it is a compromise I was willing to make, as I think that Nicky can improve the squad.”
The tough tackling 23 year old midfielder who started his career at Sunderland, before dropping into the non-league game, where he has been a regular goalscorer. He played several seasons for Durham City, as a teammate of Spartans’ right back Stephen Harrison in the side that gained successive promotions from the Northern League up through the Unibond First Division North to the Unibond Premier Division. He was one of only a few players, alongside another current Spartan Paul Brayson, to remain (albeit only temporarily) with Durham hit financial difficulties in the early part of last season.
He moved briefly to Dunston UTS, before finally moving on to Spennymoor in February 2010, in a deal that also saw former Spartans full-back Kenny Boyle move to Brewery Field. Smith featured in the recent friendly between Blyth Spartans and Spennymoor Town, which saw the Spartans run out 2-1 winners on the day. He also featured in the Starting XI for Spennymoor on Friday night as they opened their defence of their Northern League crown with a 1-0 win over Shildon.
Smith is also part of the Hetton Lyons set-up and was in the squad that clinched the FA Sunday Cup last season at Anfield.
A powerfully built, 6-foot-1 centre back, Morris, was born on Tyneside and has five under-21 caps for the Republic of Ireland (gained through Irish parentage), with his last appearance in the green shirt of Ireland coming in March 2010 in the game against the Armenia Under-21 side.
He joined Newcastle United as a junior and progressed through the ranks to play several times for the reserves (he was also drafted into the first team picture for several friendly games). He featured at right back in the final of the Northumberland Senior Cup in 2008 against Blyth, in the game that ended in defeat for the Spartans via a penalty shoot-out.
Upon his release from the Magpies he has been on several trials in an attempt to gain a passage back into the full time game.
Manager Mick Tait was clearly delighted with the day’s business, commenting “They are parts of the jigsaw that I have been looking for, all three are good footballers, all are the right age and have very professional mentalities. They are also good lads and have fitted into the close knit dressing room with ease.”
All three players will be available for selection in this weekend’s Blue Square Bet North season opener against Solihull Moors.
Welcome to the club lads!