Darlington’s team spirit is a factor in their blistering start to the season, believes manager Martin Gray.

His team sit top of the Northern League having won 18 of their 20 games, the latest being Saturday’s at Celtic Nation when a late Stephen Thompson penalty sealed the points.

They aim to make it 12 wins in as many home games this evening against Billingham Synthonia, who Darlington defeated 4-1 last month at Central Avenue when the Teessiders led at half-time, only for Quakers to mount a second half-fightback.

It was the same scenario on Saturday and Gray says some of his players' will to win is derived from a team ethic.

He said: “They’re a great bunch to work with. They do things right and they’re really positive.

“Win, lose or draw, they’re a great bunch and they’re in it together and that’s how we work.

“They warm-up together, they do the warm-down together, whatever they do I make sure it’s done as a group because we are a team and that’s the only way it will work.

“If you look at all of the successful teams in the country, they have a togetherness. I played in teams that didn’t have fantastic players, like at Oxford where Denis Smith had a fantastic changing room – whatever we did, we did it together, and that can get you ten or 12 points a season and that’s the way I work.”

Since losing to Quakers, Synners, in 11th, have won all four league and cup games, scoring 13 goals in the process, but they have kept only two clean sheets in 24 matches in all competitions.

Similarly, Darlington have conceded at least one goal in their past 12 league and cup fixtures.

Perhaps with that record in mind, Gray is hoping to sign Dunston left-back Terry Galbraith. He is under contract and the clubs are negotiating a fee.

Meanwhile, chairman Denis Pinnegar revealed that potential sites in Darlington have been earmarked for a potential return to the town.

In a fans forum on Monday evening, Pinnegar revealed that shortlist has been reduced to three, though no details of their location could be revealed as talks are ongoing.

Also, having received feedback from the Ebac Northern League’s Secret Shopper initiative, Pinnegar took the opportunity to remind supporters that the club could face a fine or other sanctions should fans use foul and abusive language on the terraces.