AN unfamiliar sense of optimism is sure to be in the air at the Williamson Motors Stadium tomorrow when Quakers take on Bury.

Darlington supporters are suddenly full of hope that their team can mount a serious promotion challenge after last Saturday's 2-1 win at Oxford United suggested that the 4-0 demolition of Southend United the previous weekend was not just a flash in the pan.

David Hodgson's side shrugged off the loss of Craig Hignett to a knee injury to end Oxford's unbeaten record at the Kassam Stadium this season.

They recovered well after falling behind to a David Woozley header from a corner right on half-time. Clyde Wijnhard equalised with his second goal in two games, giving the keeper no chance with a powerful shot, before substitute Ian Clark grabbed the winner with a cool finish from Adolfo Gregorio's precision pass.

The victory, which lifted Darlington up to eighth in the League Two table, was again built on a solid defensive display which illustrates the strength in depth the Quakers squad now possesses.

Joey Hutchinson and Curtis Fleming have fallen victim to injuries in recent weeks, while Craig Liddle again started on the bench before replacing Chris Hughes in the second half.

But Brian Close, Joe Kendrick and Matt Clarke have all performed well at the back despite starting the season in other positions. The home team's confidence will be high tomorrow, but the Shakers will be no pushovers. They are just one point behind Darlington.