Darlington back in action this evening as football returns after Queen's death

Alun Armstrong leads Darlington into action at Bradford PA
Alun Armstrong leads Darlington into action at Bradford PA

Darlington are hoping to stretch their unbeaten run to four league games when they go to Bradford Park Avenue this evening, with the Quakers set to become one of the first football teams in either England or Scotland to play a game following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

While the entire professional and amateur football programme was postponed at the weekend as a mark of respect following the death of the Queen, matches will resume this week.

The National League released a statement yesterday confirming their schedule would resume as planned, with Darlington's trip to West Yorkshire the only game taking place in National League North this evening. There are also matches due to take place in National League South and the FA Trophy.

Quakers go to West Yorkshire in a good frame of mind on the back of a three-game unbeaten run that has lifted them up to seventh position in the National League North table.

Darlington have collected seven points from the last nine against Spennymoor Town, Farsley Celtic and Boston United, and manager Alun Armstrong will be demanding that there is no let up or complacency in tonight’s game at the Horsfall Stadium.

“We’ve got seven points out of the last nine,” said Armstrong. “It’s what we want – get at least a point from our away games and win our home games.

"People point out that we only played against ten men when we beat Boston, but nevertheless we won the game.

“Performances have been a little bit bitty this season. We’ve been good in spells, not so good in others.

"We must produce a very good performance tonight and win the points.”

The new strike-force of Mark Beck and Jacob Hazel have scored six goals between them this season – Beck with four and Hazel with two – and Armstrong said; “Becky has been fantastic this season for us in so many ways, with his goalscoring, his hold-up play and the way he brings other players into the game.

“I was delighted for Jacob in our last home game when he scored, because he deserved the goal for his work-rate.

"If he misses a chance, it doesn’t faze him and he doesn’t hide. He goes looking for the next one.”

Defender David Wheater and midfielder Marcus Maddison are still struggling with injuries and will probably miss tonight’s game.

Bradford, meanwhile, haven’t had the best of starts to the season and have picked up just three points from their opening seven league games, all of them draws.

Quakers are hoping to learn this week of when their game at AFC Telford, which was due to be played last Saturday, will be re-arranged.

The league has written to all clubs stating that it will re-arrange the games, and not leave the clubs to agree.

Regardless, it means that Quakers are almost certainly facing a long midweek trip to Shropshire, probably in October, taking into consideration that next midweek is free for a possible FA Cup game, and the midweek after they are due to take on Blyth Spartans.

They are also waiting for confirmation from the FA that their scheduled FA Cup second qualifying round tie against Southport will go ahead as planned on Saturday afternoon at Blackwell Meadows, kick off 3pm.