DARLINGTON may be without a game today but they will still be putting their boots on, training in preparation for part two of their double-header with second-top Harrogate Town.

Quakers beat the North Yorkshire club on Boxing Day at Blackwell Meadows, the victory being Tommy Wright’s first at the sixth attempt, and he believes playing the promotion contenders is an ideal fixture for his team.

Darlington had been woefully out of form, winning only one of their previous 12 games before Harrogate visited the North-East on Tuesday, with the nadir being a 3-1 loss at fellow strugglers Gainsborough Trinity seven days ago.

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Wright feels that playing one of the National League North’s better teams affords no room for complacency.

“We’ve got the monkey off our back,” said the boss.

“I said prior to the Gainsborough game last week that the lads needed to stand up and be counted. The game was a massive disappointment so we challenged the boys before the Boxing Day game and they seemed focused and determined.

“I was absolutely delighted for them. The lads have probably felt a bit of pressure – a new manger has come in and you want that first win, you probably try that little bit too hard.

“I don’t think we had particularly good luck in those games. It’s the oldest cliché in football – the harder you work eventually it will turn around. That’s probably what happened to us.

“It’s going to be another tough test on Monday and it doesn’t get any easier for us with York and Salford games after that.

“The bigger the game at the minute the better for us. I said that when we were supposed to play Salford the other week.

“Complacency shouldn’t become an issue, we’re playing teams that want to attack us rather than sit and soak it up, so Harrogate again is probably the ideal game for us.”

As Wright eluded to, Darlington certainly had no luck regarding Dom Collins dismissal at Gainsborough, the defender sent off at 2-0 just before half-time, but the red card has now been rescinded after Quakers won an appeal lodged with the Football Association.

Collins will be available to play on Monday, likely to continue in the right-back role he adapted to well on Boxing Day, but there are several injury concerns in Quakers’ squad.

Joe Wheatley and Tom Portas (both hamstring) visited Quakers’ physio for treatment yesterday, while Terry Galbraith (calf) and Luke Trotman (hamstring) are carrying knocks too.

Reece Styche limped out of Tuesday’s game, though Wright said: “It’s a hip flexor problem, he’s been to see the physio he usually sees and he’s not worried at all.”

On the number of injury concerns, Wright added: “I think it’s down to the lack of games for a month.

“The minute we’ve gone back into playing regularly, starting with the friendly with Middlesbrough, we’ve started to pick up muscle injuries.”

Harvey Saunders has also declared himself available for selection. The striker visited hospital immediately after being substituted against Harrogate complaining of breathing difficulties following a heavy collision with an opposition defender.

He said: “My body seemed to tighten up, and my heartrate went sky high. I went off straight away, and was taken to hospital.

“The doctor told me that my chest had contracted, so he gave me an injection, and it calmed my chest down. I feel okay now.”

Harrogate have an artificial surface, where Darlington won 4-1 last season and as they train on such a pitch at Eastbourne Sports Complex it holds no concerns for Wright.

He said: “We’re training on Saturday morning and we’re going to work on a few things. There’ll be a lot of passing drills to make sure the lads are used to the surface, but we train on it two nights a week, so it’s not really an issue for me.

“It would have been more of an issue if I was still at Nuneaton because we trained and played on grass, whereas now I’ve got a group of players who should be used to this surface.

“The lads have trained on it for a long time now, we should know what to expect.

“The old Astroturf pitches are long gone, these rubber crumb surfaces are really expensive and they’ve evolved, so I don’t think injuries are caused by them any more.”