9:00am Saturday 29th March 2014
By Craig Stoddart
Only two games into his Darlington career fleet-footed winger Adam Mitchell is already considered to be a first-choice, having slotted seamlessly into Quakers' promotion push.
The former Sunderland youth team player joined just over a week ago, moving to a club where his younger brother David has been in the youth team since the beginning of last season.
David has made an occasional appearance on the bench and was in the squad which travelled to last Saturday's 0-0 draw at Prescot Cables, when Adam was man of the match on his debut.
Direct in his running and capable of delivering crosses, Mitchell made an immediate impact and manager Martin Gray is delighted his new signing has adapted so quickly since moving from the Black Cats.
Gray said: "It's a different type of football for him. He's coming from the Premier League and playing in the under-21s league and playing on bowling greens where there's a different mentality.
"This move will be great for his development and I'm sure that by coming to our club he'll make a few people take notice. I'm sure he can get his career back on track.
"He comes from a good background in terms of his home life. I know his family - we've had his younger brother at the club for two years - so I know that he's very well grounded.
"He's a worker. He's not someone that sees leaving the Premier League to come here as a failure - he sees it as a chance to get his career going a gain and I've got a lot of faith in him."
Mitchell scored the final goal in Wednesday's 5-1 win over Wakefield, carefully guiding the ball inside the post from the edge of the penalty area to cap a one-sided affair in which Quakers should have scored more.
He is sure to play again today, when Darlington look to strengthen their second-place position when they travel to Ossett Town.
"I was pleased he got a goal because he was threatening to all game, just like he was on Saturday. He's given us a new lease of life," added Gray.
"He had a really good game last Saturday. He was exciting and looked like he was always going to create something when he had the ball.
"He's direct and likes to run at defenders. It's important to get him on the ball and in the first half some of the balls out to him were great and he got lots of crosses in and won us corners.
"You want a winger to do those kinds of things, so I was really pleased with him."
Wednesday's win moved Quakers above Warrington, who lost at home to an Ossett Town team who will still hope to make the play-offs, unlikely as that prospect is.
They are six points off fifth-placed Ramsbottom United, having played more matches than the teams above them.
They will, though, intend to gain revenge for the 6-1 defeat Darlington inflicted at Ingfield in the FA Trophy during October.
Placed eighth in the table, Ossett are the highest ranked team Quakers have to face in their remaining six league games, which includes only one more away game after today - at Wakefield on Easter Monday.
Wednesday's win over Wakefield came after Gray changed from the 4-4-2 formation he had used in recent games, and he explained: "We changed to 4-3-1-2 because we wanted Stephen Thompson behind the front players and it proved it was the right thing to do because he got himself a hat-trick.
"Because Wakefield played 4-5-1, we could afford to play three at the back and that allowed Joe Tait and Terry Galbraith to step out. The quality of passing from them to the front players was very good. There was a good balance.
"You look at the personnel available and you look at the opposition when you make these changes and it worked well on Wednesday.
"We started the game really well. Amar Purewal had one chance, he didn't know whether to head it or knee it, and we really took the game to Wakefield with a high tempo. The attacking players were a handful.
"We needed some goals and we needed some self-belief.
"It was good to get a win again because we had the Curzon game then a draw, so we needed three points, especially with Warrington slipping up the night before. We're a point in front of Warrington and this is a massive game."
Beating Wakefield put an end to a sequence of three matches without a victory, while today Quakers aim to extend their unbeaten run away from home to 14 games.
*Lewis Wing has returned to Seaham after a short spell at Darlington where he made only two appearances as a sub.
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