Quakers are conceding sloppy goals, admits Alun Armstrong

Darlington’s David Wheater remains sidelined <i>(Image: Steve Halliday)</i>
Darlington’s David Wheater remains sidelined (Image: Steve Halliday)

Darlington manager Alun Armstrong has told his players to be better in both boxes as they go into Saturday's home game with Leamington.

Quakers have lost their last two away matches against King’s Lynn and Buxton to drop six points behind the leaders, but they’re still in second place with the pack breathing down their neck.

They’ve conceded five goals in those two games, and missed some good chances at the other end, especially at Buxton in the 2-1 defeat on Tuesday.

“I’ve given the lads plenty of compliments on the good run that we’ve been on,” he said. “We’ve been defensively tight, but it’s come back and bit us on the backside.

“We’ve given five goals away in the last two games, and our opponents haven’t had to work hard for them. We need to get back to not conceding sloppy goals. The first goal the other night at Buxton should never have happened, and for the second goal we switched off after the throw in decision that went against us, and never picked the man up in the middle.

“I’ve told the lads that we must be better in both boxes, and we’ll soon be back on that run. It’s so frustrating because I thought we deserved something out of Tuesday’s game.”

Their visitors, who are managed by the long-serving Paul Holleran, have always been stubborn opponents, and they will have the advantage of not having played a midweek game.

Armstrong added: “Leamington are going to have fresh legs because they didn’t play in midweek. The lads were so disappointed at the end of the Buxton game that I’m expecting them to really perform this Saturday. If they give me the same passion and desire then we’ll get that result on Saturday.

“It’s not going to be easy because Leamington are always tough cookies. They’re set up very well, we know how they’ll play, we’ve got to play to our strengths.

“We want the fans behind us. We don’t want them to get on the backs of the lads, get on my back if you want. The lads are giving everything at this moment in time.

“We’re second in the table still, and last week we played the best team in the league and let ourselves down. This league is mad. We’ve got to try and stay in the pack, and I’m confident we will with what we’ve got.

“Football has a habit of kicking you. We have to remember that we have to keep pushing. We’re going to get these results, that’s why we love the game. It destroys your emotions, but you just have to suck it up.

“Runs are great, and when they come to an end, you pick yourself up, get a result and you’re up and running again. This is the moment when everyone sticks together and we’ll be fine.”

Right back Kallum Griffiths and centre half David Wheater are both getting close to full fitness but won’t be ready for Saturday, while midfielder Jarrett Rivers is hoping to recover from illness having missed the last two matches.