DARLINGTON tonight play Middlesbrough in what will be the last chance saloon for the trialists hoping to earn a deal with the club.
The Teessiders are at the Arena for Quakers’ final friendly before the season starts at home to Exeter City on Saturday, by which time manager Dave Penney aims to have made two more additions to his squad.
Striker Paul Robinson hopes to be one of those, having featured heavily since arriving on trial, though he was kept on the bench in Saturday’s defeat by St Mirren.
So too was ex-Bradford midfielder Paul Evans, although both are likely to play this evening, while Penney will revert to a 4-4-2 formation rather than the 4-5-1 that a lack of available strikers has necessitated.
Although Gregg Blundell and Curtis Main entered the fray in the second half on Saturday, Penney selected Adam Proudlock as a lone forward.
Robinson, having done well against non-league opposition, will play some part and Penney said: “I’d like to see what Robbo can do.
“He’s done OK, but he needs to do a little bit better and show us what he’s got. He certainly hasn’t done enough so far to win a contract.
“We’re getting close to the start of the season so it was important we selected a team on Saturday that was as near as we could get to one that might start against Exeter.
“It was important that most of the team got 90 minutes under their belt.”
Former Rochdale winger Ben Muirhead has also been on trial.
Those who stayed away from Saturday’s defeat – which drew a crowd of just over 1,000 – missed the debut of experienced keeper Simon Brown, who will start the season as first choice.
Penney has decided against starting the campaign with 20-year-old Przemyslaw Kazimierczak and instead brought in Brown on a sixmonth loan from Brentford.
With Andy Oakes still troubled by a shoulder injury, teenager Nick Liversedge had been Kazimierczak’s only back-up and Penney explained: “We were hoping Andy was going to be fit but he’s going to be out for another month or two.
“We think Przemyslaw is going to be an excellent keeper but he’s not quite ready and I didn’t want to be going into the season with two youngsters so I wanted some experience in.
“Simon’s been around a bit, he’s played at the top level in Scotland so he’s adding a bit of composure behind the defence.”
Tonight’s game kicks-off at 7.45, admission is £10 and £5 concessions.