9:00am Wednesday 12th March 2014
By Craig Stoddart
After waiting three months to move up from fourth position, Darlington can climb another place this evening when they face Cammell Laird at Heritage Park.
Their win over New Mills on Saturday took Quakers into third and they can go above second-placed Warrington on goal difference with a victory tonight in what is the first of three midweek games in March.
All three are at Heritage Park, with next week's match being the biggest of the season as the visitors will be top-of-the-table Curzon Ashton, who suffered a slight setback on Monday evening.
They were held 0-0 at home by Northwich Victoria - where Quakers travel to on Saturday - so now hold a ten-point lead over Darlington having played the same number of fixtures.
Martin Gray hopes to eat into that lead tonight against Birkenhead-based opposition, though the manager says his squad requires strengthening.
An injury to centre-back Chris Hunter combined with Alan White's suspension leaves Darlington short on numbers and Gray said: "I'll be speaking to the chairman because we might have to bring one or two players in. We're thin on the ground.
"I'll be speaking to a couple of people and we've already got one or two targets.
"We've got 17 players, that's all we have, and that includes two goalkeepers. That's the way we run our club.
"I'll be speaking to our chief scout and we'll have a talk about some players."
Hunter sustained an ankle injury on Saturday which will sideline him for a couple of weeks while centre-back partner White this evening begins a two-match ban for reaching ten cautions.
Gary Brown and Joe Tait, last season's successful centre-back pairing, are likely to revive their partnership with Stephen Harrison returning at right-back after being dropped on Saturday.
Tonight's game is one of eight this month, though Gray is confident his players can cope with the schedule.
"They're fit lads and they look after themselves," he said. "We said after Saturday's game that they need to look after themselves and start preparing for Wednesday.
"They can have a night out at the end of the season, but right now they need to focus on these games and to be fair they do.
"They're a good bunch, they're professional in their mentality."
Terry Galbraith got both of Quakers' goals on Saturday, and having scored a penalty in the win at Radcliffe Borough recently it means he has scored three of the team's last six goals.
Gray added: "Terry got himself into a good position, finding space at the back stick as a left-back, after a great cross by Stephen Thompson, scoring first-time.
"And we're always confident when he takes penalties so it's nice to see someone different scoring for a change."
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