Darlington have been playing the numbers game all season, switching formations and team selections on a regular basis, but manager David Hodgson reckons their effectiveness is entirely dependent on players' attitude.

They've gone from 3-5-2 to 4-3-3 to 4-4-2 and back again while Hodgson has changed team selection after every game bar one this season.

Playing with a 3-5-2 has been the preferred choice and it was used in each of the last two games, performances which contrasted sharply. Against Notts County a week ago Darlington were dire, but on Saturday Hodgson's team displayed all the attributes missing seven days earlier: invention, determination and quality.

But despite the consistently changing starting XIs and formations, Hodgson has put the emphasis on the squad's own commitment to the cause.

Desire and commitment are his buzz words at the moment and following Saturday's draw, which came after a week in which the team weren't allowed their usual day off, he said: "There's been comments made regarding formations recently but sometimes it doesn't matter what formation you play because the players last week did not put any work in and that rendered any formation useless anyway.

"No matter whether you play 3-5-2 or 4-4-2, it's always XI versus XI and I'm sick of hearing about it. Formations count for nothing if players don't put the work in.

"We've been in every day this week, working very hard and making sure we do things right and today I saw lots of things that we worked on in training which is excellent.

"There was a commitment to make sure we didn't get beat, although we didn't play defensively, there was a determination that we got at least a point and I'm not sure if that was there last week."

One of three changes to Saturday's team saw Mark Convery brought in as a late replacement for the ill Ryan Valentine but the midfielder could have just as easily been playing at Notts County for Rushden and Diamonds had their approach not been turned down recently.

The League Two strugglers enquired about the 23-year-old but Hodgson advised him to stay put and the manager said: "Convery has had to sit on the sidelines for a while which has been hard for him but his attitude on the training ground is excellent.

"And you could see that on the pitch because he came into the team and was up to speed straight away whereas some players might take a while to settle in.

"He can be a grumpy little so and so but that's only because he wants to be in the team. I think he did himself a lot of good."

* Former Darlington midfielder Adam Rundle scored his first goal for Mansfield in their 2-0 win at Bury on Saturday. Since leaving Quakers two years ago Rundle spent time with Carlisle and Dublin City before joining the Stags who play Quakers in April.

* Darlington's youth team lost 1-0 at Scunthorpe on Saturday.

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