DARLINGTON’S managerial change this week represents a fresh start for the squad, believes striker Nathan Cartman, who has asked for the club’s fans to show their support for the team on Saturday.

This weekend’s game at Blackwell Meadows against Stockport County will be the first since Martin Gray resigned as manager on Sunday, leading to Brian Atkinson and Sean Gregan replacing him.

Reaction to Gray’s departure after a five-and-a-half-year tenure has been mixed, while some supporters have expressed disappointment at the compensation arrangement between Quakers and York for his services.

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A friendly next summer will see Darlington receive all of the proceeds, however, the terms of his contract meant that the club were only entitled to a cash payment if he had moved to an EFL club.

“We need the fans to not only get behind the players, but the two managers as well,” said Cartman.

“Fans staying away if they are annoyed is the wrong approach. The players, management and backroom staff need them more than ever.

“A few good results and we’ll be near the top of the table and that’s how we’ve got to look at it.

“We’re a point off the play-offs and we’re only in October. There’s still a long way to go.

“We’ve won one game in ten and we’re not far off the play-offs, so it’s not just us that are getting beat.

“We cannot afford people turning away because of the situation.”

Atkinson and Gregan’s appointment as joint-managers will signal a change in style of play, believes Cartman.

Gray relied heavily on the height of striker Mark Beck, a player at the centre of speculation linking him with York, while team-mate David Ferguson is also thought to be in demand at Bootham Crescent. The Northern Echo understands neither were at training on Tuesday evening.

Nonetheless, Cartman said: “It’s a fresh start for everyone. I think they’re going to give everyone a chance to prove themselves and to prove that they should be at Darlo.

“The training on Tuesday was short and sharp, I’m looking forward to training again on Thursday and to the match on Saturday.

“They deserve their chance. They’re a different voice, different opinions. They’ll play a different way to Martin.

“I think they want to play from the back and build from there, whereas Martin likes to play for territory, likes to get the ball forward quickly.

“Greegs and Atky said that we’re going to be playing football, we want to get it down and play.

“There’ll be times where are going to have to go long and turn teams, but we want to be playing football and that will suit the players we’ve got.

“Everyone knows I’m 5ft 6in - I’ll compete for headers and I might win one out of ten. So it’ll suit my game, but I’ve done what I’ve done for Martin for the last three years and I couldn’t be happier that he brought me to Darlo.”

Cartman was quick to point out that he bears no ill feeling towards Gray, a manager who sent him out on loan at the beginning of the season, and also dropped him last Saturday at Curzon Ashton.

“He did a fantastic job, there’s other way of looking at it,” said Cartman. “To get three promotions out of five seasons and two play-off positions is great.

“He’s moved on to a new challenge. It’s full-time which is what he wants.

“Time moves on, people move on and it’s obviously the right time for Martin to go and chase his ambition.

“He rang me on Sunday to thank me for what I’ve done. We’ve had our disagreements, but that’s football. We’ve moved on.

“We can’t stand still, we have to move and the same goes for the club. The club will always be there no matter who is the manager is.

“The fans need to back us, the ones who have been staying away as well.

“The attendances have dropped, but we need the fans to get behind the lads, the management and the backroom staff.”