Caretaker boss Mick Tait has challenged his strikers to stake their claim for a place in the side following Richard Offiong's return to Newcastle.

Darlington entertain promotion-chasing Cambridge tomorrow with a starting berth alongside Barry Conlon up for grabs after Quakers decided not to extend Offiong's loan stay with the club.

Ian Clark, who lost his place following Offiong's arrival in November, is the leading candidate to step in with duo Danny Mellanby (back) and Glenn Naylor (knee) still out injured.

Mark Sheeran could also come into contention as well as reserve striker John Alexander.

"We have the players who were playing very well at the start of the season who'll be looking to get involved again," said Tait.

"We have Clarky, who's doing well and was unfortunate to find himself out of the side when Richard arrived. It's up to him or whoever I decide to bring in on Saturday to come in and stake their claim for a place. I want someone to come in and prove to me that they can do a job."

One player who may have came into consideration is defender Matt Clarke, who has already proven his worth as a striker with a brace against Kidderminster almost a fortnight ago.

However, he has been ruled out for three weeks after a freak accident at home in which Clarke badly injured a finger on a broken plate whilst washing dishes.

Tait, meanwhile, has called on his players to take their no fear attitude away from home back to Feethams.

Quakers have travelled well under Tait, with just two defeats in eight outings.

And while their home record reads well with just one defeat in eight, half of them have finished in draws and even by his own admission, Tait reckons his side should be performing better on their own patch.

"We've been playing some fluent football away from home but for some reason we haven't been able to get it right at home," said Tait.

"It's no good dwelling on it. What we must do is get our heads down and work at it, show plenty of enthusiasm, commitment and take games to teams from the start.

"That's what we'll be aiming to do on Saturday. Sometimes that doesn't happen and you have to try and make it happen.

"I'll do whatever I can to get the players playing right and it's up to them when they get out there."

* Former Quakers striker Peter Duffield has left York City to join Division Three rivals Boston on a free transfer.

* Former Boston manager Steve Evans will appeal against the FA decision to ban him from football for 20 months after being found guilty of two charges of impeding and misleading an FA investigation. Evans, who led the club to pro motion from the Conference last season, had been awaiting punishment since receiving the FA's verdict at a hearing last month.

The three-man panel also fined the 40-year-old £8,000 but Evans, whose suspension commences on March 3, said: ''I will be appealing and can say nothing more until that has been heard.''

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