Quakers need reinforcements

After receiving the go-ahead to prepare for this weekend's game with Fleetwood Town, Craig Liddle is now determinedly working to bring in reinforcements.

A dramatic day at The Northern Echo Arena yesterday saw Quakers saved - for the next three games at least - with administrator Harvey Madden allowing time to find a buyer and secure its long-term future.

However, Liddle now has only nine senior players on the books, plus close to 20 youth team players, with Aaron Brown having become the latest to leave.

The left-back decided yesterday he would sign for a club closer to his Bristol home, following out of the Arena Liam Hatch, Jamie Chandler and Sam Russell, who all departed last week.

And Liddle warned that there could yet be another exit before second-top Fleetwood travel to the North-East.

The Northern Echo: Darlington FC possible line-up versus Fleetwood Town

"I'd hope not to lose anymore, though there might be one more leaving," he revealed.

"There's potential for one more to go, but I don't want to name him.

"I'm working tirelessly to try and bring one or two in. I've got to do all I can to make us as competitive as I can and that's not a slight on any of my youth lads if I'm bringing young lads in from elsewhere.

"I just need to do what I can to make us as competitive as possible so I'm making calls to try and get people in.

"I've been ringing clubs trying to bring players in on loan. But clubs have seen in the media that I've been sacked so it's been a little bit embarrassing for me.

"We've just got to do what we can to get the game on. I think everybody in the North-East is relieved that we're living to fight another day."

It is believed that officials at Newcastle, Sunderland and Middlesbrough are keen to help by sending players on loan to Liddle, 40, who is considering a playing comeback.

He retired seven years ago, but, so dire is the situation, he will put his boots back on if required and feature as a non-contract player, which is also how the remaining members of the squad would appear.

Although Darlington made their players redundant on Monday they retain their registrations so they can continue to play on a non-contact basis.

However, such a status means they would not be covered by insurance and The Northern Echo understands that the players have been offered a lump sum to play in each of the next three matches.

Although Darlington are under a registration embargo after not paying players' last month, they are permitted to make signings to ensure the element of competition is not devalued.

"Because of the circumstances they will allow us to bring one or two bodies in, that's what I'm led to believe," added Liddle.

"If I speak to Newcastle, Sunderland or Middlesbrough and ask for a player, we would then have to go to the Conference to see if they will sanction a loan move.

"You would hope they will say yes because they have a duty to the rest of the league. If we aren't able to bring players in to compete and Fleetwood ended up winning by a big margin it wouldn't be fair for the teams up the table with them, the likes of Wrexham.

"Plus, we've got a duty to ourselves and everybody else make the game as competitive as we can."

One area that Liddle is looking at is goalkeeper as Russell's move to Forest Green Rovers leaves Darlington with only youth team player Jordan Nixon to choose from.

Liddle explained: "I've spoken to Jordan and told him that I want to try and bring someone in with a bit more experience and he understands the situation that I'm in.

"For all that he's very talented, it would be a big game for him.

"I thought I had one lined up, but the lad has decided he doesn't want to come, so we're still working on that position. But if Jordan is called upon he will not let anybody down, that's a certainty."

Darlington will train this morning, though today's Durham Challenge Cup tie with Wearside League team Hartlepool FC has been postponed for a third time.

Due to the lack of numbers, the youth and senior players will again train together.

Depending on what joy he has in bringing in reinforcements, Liddle believes he may have to field almost an under-16s line-up in Saturday's youth match at home to Lincoln as the elder members of the youth squad will be required for the Conference game.

However, Liddle believes the players will now be looking forward to Saturday.

He said: "All the players will be looking forward to coming in for training tomorrow and Friday and preparing for the game on Saturday for what I'm sure will be a big crowd.

"It's an opportunity now. The supporters followed us in numbers to Barrow so it's an opportunity for everybody else in the town, if they couldn't make it to Barrow, to come and show their support and we'll need it because it will be a really tough game."

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