DARLINGTON players are being tested by this week’s unusual circumstances, admits Phil Turnbull, which is why they need the club’s supporters to remain positive during tomorrow's game.

A remarkable turn of events yesterday saw Brian Atkinson and Sean Gregan step down as managers having overseen just one training session and no games since replacing Martin Gray on Sunday.

A conflict of interests – Atkinson and Gregan both work for the Martin Gray Football Academy – led to their premature departure and, at four days, their tenure stands as the shortest in the club’s history, beating Ryan Kidd’s 12 days in 2010 after he succeeded Simon Davey.

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As a result, Turnbull and Gary Brown will pick the team for tomorrow’s match at Blackwell Meadows against Stockport County, and the caretaker bosses have suggested they will alter Quakers’ tactics.

With Mark Beck expected to join York City – as will David Ferguson - fewer long passes can be expected, though the change in tact may not be a seamless transition warned Turnbull.

“We really need the fans more than ever to be positive,” said the former Gateshead midfielder, who took charge of training on Thursday evening.

“It’s an old cliché, the 12th man, but it makes a difference on the pitch if the fans are behind you and patient.

“We’re being tested at the moment, the players, and we need the fans more than ever to show their positivity and unity.”

Training at Eastbourne Sports Complex in Darlington saw Atkinson and Gregan say their farewells to the players, and new York City manager Gray was also a visitor as he met Quakers’ players in person for the final time.

Turnbull, aged 30, has no desire to become a manager just yet, but the role is one he can see himself fulfilling in the future.

“I’ve always wanted to go down that route at the right time,” he said. “I still think I’ve got a lot to offer as a player, but I’ve always studied the game, probably more than I should. I go away and look at it tactically.

“When I was asked to do it with Browny it said something about what the board think of me, so I was happy about that, and it excited me as well.

“So I put a session on at training on Thursday and if I thought the lads didn’t enjoy it I would know because I’m critical of myself like that, but I know they enjoyed it. It was a good tempo.”