U turn on Williams signing

Former Premier League star Darren Williams will not be joining Gateshead after all - a decision acceptable to both club and player.

Williams, who previously played for Sunderland, Hartlepool United, Bradford City and Dundee, signed a non-contract form at the International Stadium on Thursday night.

The 32 year old, who has been training at cash-strapped Darlington, had been expected to make his Blue Square Premier debut for Gateshead at Cambridge United on Saturday.

However, even non-contract players, it has become apparent, are unable to move to another club, should they want to, before the next transfer window opens in January.

As Williams was brought in to cover for injured central defenders Chris Swailes and Carl Jones, and still harboured hopes of a return to the professional ranks, the decision not to go ahead with the arrangement was taken mutually.

"Darren signed for Gateshead on Thursday night but, at his request, we agreed not to send the form off to the FA until he had shown a copy to his agent," said Gateshead chairman Graham Wood.

"Both parties had agreed a non-contract situation was the way forward. It gave us the chance to look at the player and for Williams to keep his options open.

"However, when it was discovered what the implications were in signing on a non-contract basis we both decided not to pursue it."

Gateshead already have a squad of 22 which includes Frenchman Stephane Pelonde, who can play at the centre of defence, as can new signing Christoph Ascherl and Alex Francis.

Pelonde is now likely to partner James Curtis at the centre of defence against Cambridge United at the Abbey Stadium tomorrow.