DANNY BROWN expects this month’s matches to play a crucial role in determining Darlington Mowden Park’s promotion fate as they look to force their way out of National One.

Mowden host Blackheath at The Northern Echo Arena tomorrow afternoon looking to maintain their unbeaten home record and claw back some of the 16-point gap that currently separates them from league leaders Coventry.

Mowden host Coventry at the end of the month, and Brown expects the promotion picture to look a clearer by the time March rolls around.

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“February is a big month for us with a series of tough games,” said the Mowden director of rugby. “We’ll have a good idea of where we’re at by the end of the month.

“It’s great that we’re able to reshuffle the starting 15 and keep the squad fresh ahead of a tough run of fixtures.”

Brown has made four changes to the side that beat Old Elthamians last weekend, with the only alteration in the pack seeing Ralph Appleby return at loose-head in place of Jack Payne, who has been called up by Newcastle Falcons.

Appleby starts alongside Alfie Barron and Chris Wood, both of whom scored tries in last weekend's win, with Jake Brady and Talite Vaioleti continue their pairing at lock.

There are three changes in a reshuffled backline, with Matt Dudman returning from injury to start at scrum-half and form a half-back pairing with Warren Seals who moves from the centres.

Garry Law returns to start at inside-centre alongside Grant Connon, who will play outside him. Callum Mackenzie and Adam Radwan keep their places on the wing, and there is a first start for Cameron Cowell at full-back.

Darlington Mowden Park Sharks are also in action tomorrow, with their home game against Harlequins due to kick-off at 4pm. Harlequins are second in the Premier 15s table, having lost just two of their 13 league games.

The Sharks have made two changes for tomorrow’s game, with the only alteration in the pack seeing Ellie Tuvotu make her first start of the season in the second row alongside Jas Bell.

In the backs, Fi Davidson and La Toya Mason start at nine and ten respectively, with Georgia Roberts and Rachel Woosey continuing in the centres. The only change to the backline sees Hannah Morton replace Rosie Blount on the left wing.