Neil Aspin has made his first signing of the summer as former Cheltenham Town and Wrexham midfielder Russell Penn completed a move to Gateshead.
Penn rejoins Gateshead after spending a loan spell at the International Stadium between September and December last season.
The thirty one year old made a big impact during his temporary stay, picking up four man of the match awards in his sixteen appearances.
Speaking to the club’s official website Penn said “It was a straightforward decision for me in terms of the club itself and what I already know and have experienced during my time here previously.
“In terms of a footballing decision – when the season is over and you have a few options and offers that can take over your life and make things quite stressful because you just want that stability at this level.
“But now it’s all done and dusted, I’m very happy and I can’t wait for the new season to start.”
The former York City and Cheltenham Town captain also pointed to his September to December stint in 2016 as the main reason for his return to Tyneside.
“Obviously a big factor in me coming back was the time I spent here last season,”
Gateshead finished in eighth position in the Vanarama National League, with a play-off challenge only faltering in the closing weeks of the campaign.
And Penn believes that the club can put in another play-off challenge after completing a permanent move to the International Stadium.
He said “I loved it here and I’d say it was a pretty successful spell really”
“The club were in the top half and looking to kick-on toward the play-offs and they went on to mount a pretty good challenge.
“I played 16 games and thought I performed quite well which would have been a reason for the club deciding to offer me a deal.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my first spell here and now I think we’ve got a really competitive team to kick on and improve on last year’s finish.
“Personally, and as a team, we just want to do as well as we possibly can. As I said, I think the team is realistically strong enough to compete at the top of the table.
“I’m not going to set any specific targets or anything but I think everyone will be aiming for at least a strong play-off challenge with the view to getting
Penn could make his first appearance as a permanent member of the Heed squad when they visit EBAC Northern League neighbours Dunston UTS on Thursday 6th July.
Article: Mark Carruthers (@marknldaily)
Image: Gateshead FC