Work ethic needed to keep Darlington's run going

Darlington’s Mark Beck scores from the spot against Southport last Saturday. Picture: STEVE HALLIDAY
Darlington’s Mark Beck scores from the spot against Southport last Saturday. Picture: STEVE HALLIDAY

Darlington manager Alun Armstrong has told his players that they won’t get an easy ride when Peterborough Sports visit Blackwell Meadows for the first time on Saturday.

Before their FA Cup win over Southport last Saturday, Quakers had won three league games in a row to lift them up to sixth, a point and two places above their newly-promoted opponents.

“We’re in a good place at the moment, but we cannot take our foot off the pedal,” he said.

“There are no easy games in this league – we’ve found that out already. People expected us to beat Banbury, who had also just been promoted, on the day earlier in the season, and we saw how good they were. I expect Peterborough to be just as good as they were, if not better.

“We’ve got to continue what we’ve been doing in recent matches. We’ve been a threat to teams, defensively we’ve been quite strong although the two goals we conceded last Saturday weren’t great, but we’ve got players coming back from injury now and the competition for places is a lot stronger than it was.

“We’re quite happy with what we’ve got, but we must continue with the strong work ethic which has got us these results so far.

“No game is easy in this league. These are the games that the fans might think that we should win pretty comfortably. But these are the tough games. Peterborough have just come up and are just like Darlington and Blyth in the past when they got into the play off positions after coming up.

“We’ve got to be really at it. We’ve got home advantage, we’re in a good position and playing some decent football. Hopefully we’ll get the job done, but it won’t be an easy ride.”

Armstrong believes that he has a better all round team compared to last season when the play-off challenge faded in the latter stages of the season. Striker Mark Beck is just one goal off double figures already, for example.

“There’s a lot more to come from this group. We’ve still got Marcus Maddison and Danny Rose to get fully fit, and David Wheater to get back into the team.

“We’ve got a really good group both mentally and physically this season, and we’ve got the experience and the quality on top of that.

“It helps when you have someone like Mark Beck scoring goals like he is at the moment, that’s what he was brought in to do, but the other lads have contributed as well.

“They deliver the ball into the right areas and we’re making sure that he’s in the right area instead of dropping too deep.

“The players are getting used to each other, and they’re getting to know each other.”

Striker Kaine Felix will be up against his old club. He joined them in the summer after leaving Guiseley, but didn’t play a league game for them, as he was transferred to Quakers on the eve of the season.

Wheater is likely to be in the squad again after injury, but midfielder Marcus Maddison is still missing.

Peterborough, who came up from the Southern League Central last season, will be without their top scorer, former Darlington player Jordan Nicholson, who suffered a broken leg after scoring the only goal of the game in their midweek FA Cup win over Redditch.