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Darlington boss guarantees an improvement at Salford
In 57 games since taking charge at Darlington, Tuesday's display at Ramsbottom ranks among the lowest points in manager Martin Gray's tenure.
He says the 3-0 defeat against a team second-bottom at the start of play was not the worst performance under him though, with the 4-1 loss at Guisborough Town 12 months ago earning that ignominious status.
But Tuesday's display was not much better and the rollicking at Ramsbottom the angry manager handed out to his players left them in little doubt what is expected today at Salford City.
"They didn't talk, I didn't let them, no chance. It's my way and that's how it's going to be," said Gray, as he described the post-match inquest.
"They knew they'd had a bad game, but they need to be told as well because all they've had for the past year is pats on the back - it's reality time now.
"You'll see a better performance than Tuesday, that's guaranteed. You will see a reaction on Saturday, 100 per cent, otherwise there will be changes."
It was making changes on Tuesday, however, that appeared to contribute towards Quakers' undoing, with Terry Galbraith a weak link at left-back, while Ramsbottom's speedy left-winger Phil Dean gave Chris Hunter a torrid time on the opposite flank.
Gray explained Galbraith's positional switch from midfield, saying: "I wanted a bit of quality with the passing in the full-back areas and I thought, on the ball, Terry Galbraith was smashing. Defensively he did okay, no more than that.
"Goals change games and you see the mentality change when goals go in.
"On Sunday, Manchester United conceded goals against Manchester City, their confidence went and they couldn't get back into the game.
"We had a bit of that on Tuesday - our confidence went and Ramsbottom's grew."
Leon Scott or Paul Weldon are sure to return at left-back today as Gray will make alterations to the XI that fared so badly against Ramsbottom.
Alan White is available and likely to play, but Nathan Fisher remains in limbo as the club were last night still awaiting international clearance following his arrival last weekend.
He was in the stands on Tuesday, when Quakers were 2-0 behind at the break against a side that spurned opportunities to score more goals, yet Gray felt his team were "in charge" during the first 45 minutes.
He said: "We had one or two similar games last year. Guisborough was worse because we didn't create many chances that night, but on Tuesday, apart from the two goals, I felt we were in charge. That's my honest opinion and the opinion of the staff.
"But you can't give teams a two-goal headstart, especially teams likes Ramsbottom, who had four special, really quick, sharp players.
"The left-winger was excellent, the front man made some great runs and the two centre-backs did what they're paid to do, so you've got to give them credit.
"We need to make sure we learn from Tuesday because you can't come away and expect to be allowed to pass the ball through to the front men and carve teams open. It doesn't work like that.
"You've got to do the ugly side of the game, win your personal battles from the first minute until the last minute - that's what football's about. After that your football ability comes through."
Having conceded nine goals in their last three away games, Darlington need a vast improvement today. They were held to a 0-0 draw last Saturday, so a failure to take three points today would mean three league fixtures without a win for the first time since 2011-12. Ninth-placed Salford have lost only once in the league.