Ramsbottom United hold no fears for Gary Brown, says Darlington’s captain ahead of tomorrow evening’s play-off semi-final.
The tie is likely to be a sell out as very few tickets remain for the tie at the 2,000-capacity at Heritage Park, when the opposition will be a test of Quakers’ quality.
Along with champions Curzon Ashton, the Rams defeated Darlington home and away this term and were deserved victors on each occasion, winning 3-0 and 1-0.
The record is in contrast to Quakers’ four games against Warrington and Bamber Bridge, who play their semi-final this evening, which saw Martin Gray’s men pick up maximum points in every fixture.
“I know a lot of people had been talking about who we may or not may play, but we let the opposition worry about us,” said Brown, who missed both matches with Ramsbottom due to injury “We’re sort of glad that we’ve got Ramsbottom because we owe them one, in fact we owe them two.
“I went to the away game when I was sub keeper and they were as good as we’ve played this season, but we’re a lot wiser since the two games we played them.”
The Rams finished fifth but would’ve been a position higher were it not for a three-point deduction.
Their wins over Darlington came in games played in the first four months of the campaign, and Brown added: “We’ve changed our style of play and I don’t think they’ll be able to do what they did to us earlier in the season.
“Everybody is hungry for it. The lads who were rested on Saturday were fuming about not playing, but that’s what we want, players who are desperate to play.
“Nobody turned up thinking ‘fair enough, I’ll go upstairs and have a drink and watch the match’, everyone wanted to play, so that’s refreshing.”
Brown is sure to be involved tomorrow, though he started Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Burscough when Gray selected a side made up largely of fringe players, including debutant Aiden O’Connor.
The 16-year-old was on the end of a senseless challenge that resulted in a red card for Mike Brown.
“Saturday was more about protecting players and it’s just as well we did because that tackle on Aiden was one of the worst I’ve seen,” said Brown.
“Their player was in midair, tucked his legs in and then extended them when he jumped into Aiden. No disrespect to Aiden, but imagine if that had been Terry Galbraith and he was out for Wednesday?
“Martin’s got a couple of good headaches. Some positions are spoken for, but it’ll be interesting to see what he does.”
* Quaker Retail in Darlington’s covered market will be selling tickets from 10am-2pm today.