Quakers poised for return to action

After almost a month without a game, Darlington are poised for a long-awaited return to action this evening.

Freezing conditions have seen four games fall victim to the weather since the win at South Shields on January 5. Although rain is forecast today, Quakers are hopeful of playing.

Guisborough Town are the visitors for a match that will be Darlington's first at Heritage Park since December 19 - the 0-0 draw with Spennymoor - but Martin Gray says the break has at least assisted his players' fitness.

Craig Gott has recovered from an ankle injury sustained against Spennymoor and he will replace Gary Brown who serves a one-match suspension.

"Craig is ready to go again so that's encouraging," said Gray. "He's now fully fit and the players have had time to get even fitter. They've effectively had another pre-season over the past few weeks.

"They've really worked hard on their fitness.

"We want to come out of the block really fit and ready to go for the business end of the season."

Gott usually plays in midfield, though has been used at right-back and Gray has no concerns over playing him in the centre of defence.

He said: "Craig comes straight in alongside Joe Tait. They played in the youth team together for years at Hartlepool so it's not like they don't know each other. He's also played there for Billingham Synthonia.

"He's an intelligent footballer and understands the game. You could play him at right-back or centre-back and it wouldn't matter because he'll just slot in.

"He's done great since he came to the football club and he's just got to keep that standard up now."

Guisborough are 12th and became the first team to defeat Darlington this season when they won 4-1 back in September

Should tonight's game go ahead, it will be thanks in part to the effort of fans and players alike who cleared the pitch of snow on Saturday.

"I'm grateful to the fans that came in their own time and gave us four or five hours to try and help the football club," added Gray.

"So a massive thank you goes to those who contributed towards getting the game on.

"The players made an effort too. They got out there and it was good for camaraderie. Some clubs might have chosen to have the weekend off, but for us it was a good five hours together."

* Supporters are reminded that this evening's game kicks-off at 7.45pm.

* The Darlington FC Fundraising Group are holding their monthly quiz tomorrow at the Dolphin Centre. Starting at 8pm, all are welcome and entry is £1.

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