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Darlington’s place in play-offs is strengthened
Darlington's grip on a play-off place strengthened last night - despite not even playing.
There were two fixtures in the Evo-Stik First Division and both results went in Quakers' favour, with sixth-placed Lancaster City losing at Northwich Victoria while play-off hopefuls Ramsbottom United and Farsley drew with each other.
The results mean Quakers remain third, nine points ahead of Lancaster with five league games to go, four of which are at Heritage Park.
The four home games are on consecutive Saturdays, beginning this weekend with the visit of third-bottom Radcliffe Borough.
Should Darlington finish second in the table they could potentially play twice more at Heritage Park, which is manager Martin Gray's aim, despite the team's fantastic form on the road.
Last weekend's win at Ossett Town means Quakers are undefeated in 14 consecutive away matches, a sequence that includes only two draws.
"We have to make sure we go for that second spot, which is what we talked about after the Curzon game," said Gray.
"We've got five games remaining, we have to win all of them and they're all cup finals as far as I'm concerned.
"We want that second place because we want home advantage and want our fans to come and see us at home."
Darlington plan to return the town next season by ground-sharing Blackwell Meadows, and Gray will be at the venue this weekend to oversee trials for his academy.
Potential students are invited to attend the trials, in conjunction with Darlington College, for a place on the BTEC Extended Diploma in Sport at 10am and midday.
The course has produced students who have gone on to various career pathways including university, teaching, sports science and fitness instruction, coaching and semi professional football.
One student, Andrew White from Bishop Auckland, has played England schoolboys while others, including David Mitchell and Adam Cocks, have made appearances for Darlington's first team.
Aimed at achieving high academic standards as well as sporting excellence the course is an excellent way for the football playing young people of the area to develop their skills in a carefully managed team based environment with like minded people.
Gray said: "We are very proud to work with Darlington College delivering the BTEC Extended Diploma in Sports course and even more so that we have given so many young people of the area a chance to make a career out of a sport they love to play.
"We have had some great students to date and this year the demand for places has been much greater."
A limited number of places on the course are available.
Enquiries can be made via martingrayfootballacademy.co.uk or by ringing 07921-334577.