9:02am Saturday 11th October 2008
By Craig Stoddart
THE last three games at the Arena have all had a certain sense of deja-vu.
In each of them Alan White scored a header via pinpoint Franz Burgmeier deliveries, whipped in from the left wing.
All three came in front of the West Stand and, after quadrupling his Darlington career total in a matter of weeks, White admits to receiving a huge confidence boost.
“It changes your attitude,”
said White, who will be part of the Darlington side taking on his former club Luton Town today.
“Every corner and free-kick we get I’m thinking I can get on the end of it, whereas if you go three or four months without scoring you go up for free-kicks not feeling too confident.
“But now I feel about eight foot tall when I go up for corners.
I’ve scored in fits and starts during my career. I think I’ve got about 30 in my career, which isn’t too bad, about three or four a season average.
“Last year was disappointing just getting the one; the season before that I got eight.
“That was with Notts County and Peterborough, they weren’t all headers either, there were a few volleys in there!”
The Burgmeier-White combination was in full flow during Tuesday’s 1-0 win over Huddersfield Town. The pairing also produced the goods recently against Accrington and Shrewsbury, and White admitted: “They must have watched the last couple of games and seen that I run across and try to flick it on.
“But David Unsworth was marking me on Tuesday and he just let me run away from him.
“I don’t whether they were zonal marking or whether he couldn’t be bothered.”
As well as teeing up White three times, Burgmeier has had a hand in four other goals and also found the net himself.
White admits the Liechtensteiner is one of the best crossers of the ball he has played alongside and he said: “It’s all about the delivery.
You can work on set-pieces until you’re blue in the face but if the delivery is not right you’re not going to get on the end of it.
“He’s up there as being one of the best I’ve played with in terms of delivery. He hits the spot every time and causes problems. Every free-kick we have either one us heads it, or there’s a scramble or one of their defenders has to glance it away.
“We were disappointing last year from set-pieces, I don’t think we scored from many at all, so the gaffer said it’s something we’ve got to improve on and right now it’s working out.
“We’re confident that Franz knows what he’s doing. He can put it on a sixpence and he’s so confident when he’s running up to the ball that we make the run and the ball is always there for you.
“He’s got great technique and you know the ball is going to reach you. He whips it in at a good head height, on target towards the back post and we’ve just got to get across our markers to get a touch. You don’t really have to direct it, you’ve just got to change the angle.”
The Burgmeier-White routine won’t be in evidence today as the winger is playing for Liechtenstein in a World Cup qualifier against Wales at the Millennium Stadium.
That game starts at 5.30pm, by which time Quakers hope to have taken three points from Luton, which is where White’s career started in earnest.
Although the Darlingtonborn centre-half came through the ranks at Middlesbrough, first-team appearances were rare until moving to Kenilworth Road in 1997.
“I loved it there, it kickstarted my career,” said White who made almost 100 appearances for the club.
“I enjoyed living there, I met some good people and still have some good friends down there. I was 21 at Middlesbrough and hadn’t played a first-team game, apart from in that dodgy Anglo-Italian Cup.
“The opportunities just weren’t there for young lads when Bryan Robson was there because he was buying players left, right and centre, so I was told that it was about time I started playing football and Luton was a great opportunity.”
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