Darlington look for another happy away day

Darllington’s Dan Dodds could play centre-back against Kidderminster <i>(Image: Steve Halliday)</i>
Darllington’s Dan Dodds could play centre-back against Kidderminster (Image: Steve Halliday)

Darlington go to Kidderminster Harriers on Saturday looking for their second away win in five days.

They won 4-1 at Telford on Tuesday, with Jack Lambert scoring a hat-trick and Alex Purver scoring from long-range to put them up to third place, just two points behind joint leaders King’s Lynn and Brackley.

“This is another huge trip for us. Kidderminster lost at Scarborough on Tuesday, and they’ll be looking for a big reaction, so we must be ready for that,” warned manager Alun Armstrong.

“We could easily have scored seven or eight the other night at Telford. Jack Lambert’s early goal gave us a lift after Jake Lawlor pulled out in the warm up. I told the lads not to use Jake’s injury as an excuse, and just to embrace the situation.

“I thought we should have had four or five before half time, but it wasn’t Jacob Hazel’s night. I felt for him, on another night he could have had a double hat-trick, but everything he hit, the keeper saved.

“We still need to work on our finishing, but I can’t complain too much after a long midweek trip away from home. I was still disappointed that we conceded though.”

Armstrong says that he will take the opportunity to rest players if he can in their busy two games per week schedule, after Purver came back rejuvenated following a break against Leamington last Saturday. The midfielder scored a superb third goal into the top corner at Telford.

Armstrong added: “He needed a rest against Leamington, he can’t keep running 14k or 15k in every game and not be burnt out. He’s been fantastic, I’ve got to rest players if I can. Mark Beck needs a rest, but I can’t afford to at the moment. We’ve got to keep looking after these players, we must make sure that we get them ready for matches, remember that most of them also work during the day.”

Armstrong believes that the arrival of utility player Joe Leesley on loan from Boston has had a positive influence.

The manager said: “He’s played four games for us, and he’s played in three different positions already! He’s got the experience and the nous which are helping the lads. He’s such a good senior pro.

“His loud voice in defence on Tuesday night when he played at left back really helped the rest of the lads. He was constantly talking to them and he got the youngsters right after Telford scored.

“He’s brought a little bit of leadership and quality that we’ve been lacking at times, it’s massive having someone like him around.” Leesley has another three games left on his loan.

Armstrong is hoping for plenty of positive backing from the fans. “I’m really enjoying working with this group of players, but I’m a little disappointed with some of the fans moaning constantly that we’re not winning games all the time.

“Sometimes you don’t get the rub of the green, but there’s no point in having a go at the players and getting on their backs. These lads are giving everything for the club.”

Kallum Griffiths and David Wheater are both likely to be missing again today because of injury, while Jake Lawlor will have a fitness test. If he doesn’t come through it, then Dan Dodds will likely play at centre half alongside Jassem Sukar, as he did impressively on Tuesday.

Kidderminster are in eighth place, and in midweek made the trip across country to Scarborough and lost 4-2. They had won their previous two matches against Banbury and Chorley.