Preston Grasshoppers have signed James Fitzpatrick as a player/assistant coach.
Fitzpatrick 29, will be part of head coach Paul Arnold’s coaching team with responsibility for the backs. He played for Blaydon, Newcastle Falcons, Leeds Carnegie and last season with National One side Darlington Mowden Park.
He has also had coaching spells with South Shields Westoe and Durham University.
Coach Arnold said: “I am thrilled that we have signed Fitzy for next season.
“He is a proven performer and his quality and experience will add a lot to our group both on and off the field.
“His coaching input will complement the work of myself and the rest of our impressive coaching group. I can’t wait for him to get started.”
Fitzgerald said: “I am very happy to be joining Preston for next season.
“The vision the club has for its future is ambitious and exciting. The facilities are excellent and the opportunity is a strong one for me at this stage in my career.
“I’m really looking forward to getting stuck in.”
The addition of Fitzpatrick brings the number of new faces in the squad so far to five with Hoppers having already secured Paul Millea, George Skofic, Alex Hurst and player coach Arnold for the 2017/18 campaign.