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Gateshead Sign Two New Forwards

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Vanarama National League club Gateshead have swooped for their second forward in the space of four days, with former Guisborough Town hot-shot Danny Johnson arriving on a one-year deal, subject to international clearance.

Johnson, 22, was released by Cardiff City in the summer, having joined the Bluebirds a year prior.

The previous season, the striker netted 59 goals in fifty-five appearances for the Priorymen, attracting the interest of a number of Football League clubs.

He became a Cardiff player after impressing for the Championship side during a pre-season trial, but found his first-team opportunities limited in Wales.

Brief loan spells with Tranmere Rovers and Stevenage followed as the season progressed, before Johnson began training with York City earlier this month.

He figured in the Minstermen’s pre-season outings against Leeds United and Middlesbrough at Bootham Crescent, but has opted to join the Heed – with first-team football a priority.

He said: “I’m pleased to join Gateshead, they are a club with ambition.

“Obviously I have been on trial with York, but as soon as Gateshead showed an interest I wanted to come here – and they have made me feel wanted from the outset.

“York wanted to keep me for another week, but as soon as Gateshead expressed their interest it was a no-brainer, really.

“I’d had a strange year at Cardiff before that. I did well for the under-21s, and I thought I might have had a chance for the first-team, but it didn’t work out.

“I went on loan to a couple of clubs, and although I wasn’t at either Tranmere or Stevenage for very long, I’ve now got some experience of playing Football League football, and I think that has brought me on.

“Playing in the National League is a new experience, but that doesn’t bother me – football’s football at the end of the day. Once you cross that line, I just want to get on the scoresheet and do all I can for the team.

“Hopefully I can bring something different to the other strikers here – I like to run in behind and link up play.

“I’ve played with Nathan Buddle and Ben Clark, having been with them both at Hartlepool, so it’s nice to know a couple of the other lads, coming in as a new player.”

Johnson follows the arrivals of another forward in Ryan Bowman from league rivals Torquay United for an undisclosed fee.

The 23-year-old netted 18 goals in forty-four appearances for the Gulls last season, and arrives at the International Stadium on a two-year deal.

Bowman began his career at home-town club Carlisle United, making nine appearances for the Brunton Park outfit before being released in 2011.

Productive spells with Darlington and Hereford United followed, before Bowman signed for League Two side York City ahead of the 2013-14 campaign.

Despite netting eight goals at Bootham Crescent in his maiden season at the club, the frontman was allowed to leave for Torquay on a free transfer.

At Plainmoor, Bowman again established himself as a first-team regular, and netted both goals in the Gulls’ entertaining 2-2 draw with the Tynesiders in November.

Now, having put pen to paper on his contract with the Heed following tonight’s 2-0 friendly victory against Darlington 1883, Bowman becomes manager Malcolm Crosby’s eighth addition of a busy summer.

And the frontman hopes to establish himself as a firm fans’ favourite in the months ahead.

He said: “I’m over the Moon to have my future sorted.

“It’s all happened so quickly. In the last couple of days, there have been other clubs sniffing around, and one actually offered me something, but Gateshead suits me better than anywhere else – both football-wise, and personally.

“I’m here to score goals – as a striker, that’s obviously the main thing for me. But hopefully the fans will see the other sides of my game – like the ability to hold the ball up for others.

“I’m just buzzing that’s it’s all finalised, and I can look forward to the season ahead.”

Boss Crosby spoke of his delight at securing his first out-and-out striker of the window.

He said: “I’m looking forward to working with him. He has proven himself to be a striker who can score goals in this league – his record speaks for itself.

“We’ll still be looking to bring in another striker – there is another name in the pipeline, who we will hopefully be able to get over the line before Monday.”

Chairman Graham Wood, meanwhile, is thrilled that the Heed have beaten off competition from other clubs to secure Bowman’s signature.

Commenting on the five-figure signing of the frontman, he said: “We had to fight off strong competition for the player’s signature – particularly from Tranmere Rovers.

“However, we’ve got there in the end, and I know that Ryan is looking forward to returning to the north. He’s a great addition to our ranks.

“The squad is really starting to take shape now, although we’ve still got a few areas with little or no cover, and we’ll be looking to plug those gaps before the season kicks off.”

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