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Darlington Preview

By: Richard Hubbert
Date: 16/12/2005

RUSSELL Slade’s men travel to mid-table Darlington on Saturday looking to bounce back from last weekend’s home defeat to Bristol Rovers by recording another away victory.

Home > 2005-2006 Season > Previews > Darlington (a)

The Opposition

Darlington agonisingly missed out on a place in the top seven last season through an inferior goal difference, and have had a mixed season so far this term. Their main problem has been consistency; failing to put back-to-back wins together all season. This is something they could put right on Saturday if they beat Town, having won 3-0 at Stockport last weekend. Manager Dave Hodgson (left), now in his third spell as manager, has wheeled and dealed in the transfer market with key players from last season like Craig Hignett, Bobby Petta and Alun Armstrong, all moving on. He will still hold hopes of a play off berth, with 7th place Northampton only six points away.

Their Squad
Former Gillingham stopper Bertrand Bossu is between the sticks for Darlo at the moment, with Sam Russell on the sidelines. Former Middlesbrough man Phil Stamp signed for the club in the summer but has started just three games after suffering injury problems, but will start on Saturday. Lively midfielder Jonjo Dickman has been a regular this season. Simon Johnson, comfortable either in attack or on the wing, has bags of pace and will no doubt cause Town problems. Meanwhile, in attack they have Guylain Ndumbu-Nsungu (left), who boasts one of the most unpronounceable names in English football. Nsungu will have mixed memories of facing the Mariners having been sent off when playing for Sheffield Wednesday at Blundell Park in April 2004 but also scoring in the previous clash between the sides earlier this season.

Key Player
Matthew Clarke. Six foot three defender, who after an indifferent start to his career at Darlington, has developed into quite an accomplished player. Formerly a striker, Clarke has played nearly 150 games for the Quakers. His personal performance could help determine how the Mariners fare in front of goal on Saturday.

Recent Form

LBristol R(h)0-1
Currently 2nd in League Two.
WStockport (a)3-0
LMacclesfield (a)0-1
DWycombe (h)1-1
Currently 14th in League Two.

Top Scorers

Gary Jones6
Michael Reddy6

Team News


  • Town are expected to be unchanged from the side which lost at home to Bristol Rovers last weekend. John McDermott remains on the sidelines with an ankle injury, though hopes to be back sooner than was previously thought.

  • JP Kalala is also a doubt with a thigh strain. He missed the game last week and is still feeling sore. Even if he is deemed fit, he will probably be on the bench with Ciaran Toner continuing in midfield.
  • The Quakers are expected to make just one change from the side that recorded victory at Stockport last Saturday. Ever present defender Ryan Valentine will miss out after accumulating too many yellow cards this season.

  • Matty Appelby, Brian Close or Shelton Martis will deputise, with Close the most likely to come in.

  • Elsewhere, Dave Hodgson has no other worries so will name an otherwise unchanged side.
  • Probable Teams

    1Steve Mildenhall
    20Gary Croft
    3Tom Newey
    6Justin Whittle
    12Rob Jones
    15Gary Cohen
    8Paul Bolland
    18Ciaran Toner
    11Andy Parkinson
    19Gary Jones
    9Michael Reddy
    1Bertrand Bossu
    18Brian Close
    5Matthew Clarke
    6Joey Hutchinson
    3Joe Kendrick
    29Phil Stamp
    10Jonjo Dickman
    11Simon Johnson
    16Clark Keltie
    24Guylain Ndumbu Nsungu
    25Carlos Logan


    10Martin Gritton
    4Simon Ramsden
    23Nick Heggarty
    7JPK Kalala
    25Paul Ashton
    4Matt Appelby
    7Neil Wainwright
    8Adrian Webster
    20Akpo Sodje

    Head to Head

    Town hold the upper hand over Darlington, with 22 wins over the Quakers' 16

    P 46 W 22 D 8 L 16 F 71 A 48

    Darlington Head-to-Head (20th on The Opposition Ladder)

    Last Meeting

    Grimsby lost 1-0 to a poor Darlington side in the corresponding game at Blundell Park in August. Tom Newey was sent off by Hull referee Carl Boyeson, Darlo were given two penalties (one was saved), and Tony Crane also saw red late on in what was his last ever league start for the Mariners.

    Grimsby Team: Mildenhall, Ramsden, Crane (sent off 90),Robert Jones, McDermott, Bolland (Toner, 88), Croft, Newey (sent off 83),Parkinson (Cohen, 57), Reddy (Andrew, 72), Gritton
    Subs (not used): Whittle,Gary Jones

    Darlington Team: Russell, Martis, Hutchinson, Clarke, Valentine, Wainwright (Duke, 85), Dickman, Peacock, Logan, Wijnhard (Sodje, 67), Johnson (Ndumbu-Nsungu, 76)
    Subs: (not used) Webster,Jameson

    Attendance: 3,904    Report


    All of the last three encounters with Darlington have ended 1-0 to the Quakers. I predict another 1-0, but this time to Town!

    1-0 to the Mariners

    Recent Predictions

    Bristol R1-00-10
    Bristol R2-01-21
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