DARLINGTON last night completed the loan signing of Preston goalkeeper Andy Lonergan after it emerged Andy Collett faces up to a further month on the sidelines.

Preston-born Lonergan, who has represented England at under-20 level, has arrived on a one-month loan deal and is expected to go straight into the starting line-up for today's visit of Macclesfield Town.

It had been hoped that Collett would make a Boxing Day return at Carlisle, but the results of a scan have revealed that his cracked ribs had not fully healed, forcing caretaker boss Mick Tait to make his second goalkeeper loan signing in less than a month.

Michael Ingham was recalled by Sunderland last week after playing three games on loan with the club, leaving Chris Porter as Tait's only available goalkeeper.

Tait is confident 19-year-old Lonergan can soften the blow suffered by the Collett delay.

"Losing Andy for even longer is a huge blow to us but we'll just have to get on with it," said Tait.

"I've heard some very good things about Andy Lonergan.

"He's third choice down there but apparently there's little separating the goalkeepers in terms of ability. We haven't done badly for goalkeepers from Preston, having had David Lucas and Tepi Moilanen from them in the past."

Lonergan becomes Darlington's fourth loan signing of the season following the arrivals of Graham Fenton, Richard Offiong and Ingham

Tait, meanwhile, is warning his players to take care against a struggling Macclesfield side desperate for points.

The Silkmen have spent most of the season at the foot of the Third Division but the likes of Hartlepool will need no reminding that they are more than capable of causing the odd upset.

David Moss's men recorded an impressive 2-0 win at Victoria Park and Tait believes it's important for his players to realise the problems the Cheshire club could pose.

"We've got to be wary of their threat and be at our best. If we do that then I'm confident we can win," said Tait. "If we're not we might get turned over."

Tait is expected to revert to a 4-4-2 formation after playing five at the back at Hull last week.

Neil Wainwright should earn a recall. The winger was the unlucky player to lose out in Tait's tactical change but should win his place back at the expense of a defender, either Matt Clarke or Stuart Whitehead.

While Quakers are unbeaten in five games, Macclesfield have failed to win in their last five League outings.

If Moss didn't have enough to contend with he has just 13 fit first-team players to choose from for today's game.

While the form book and a catalogue of injuries may suggest a comfortable home win, Tait is well aware of Macclesfield's capabilities.

"They're struggling in the League but they have managed to cause one or two upsets along the way," said Tait.

"They've won at Hartlepool and recently won comfortably at Hull in the cup, so on their day they're capable of beating anyone in the division."

Quakers' resurgence under Tait has done his chances of landing the job permanently no harm and the former Hartlepool boss is understandably delighted with the response of his players.

"The lads are enjoying playing and winning so you can't really ask any more of them than that," said Tait.

"The games lately have been good and we've been getting some good results.

"Everybody wants the ball and sometimes it's difficult as a manager to get them to do that, but at the moment everybody wants to get involved.

On a personal level Tait is happy with the start he has made as manager, saying: "I'm pleased with the way things have gone so far.

"Obviously as a football manager the most satisfaction you get is when you get good results and at the moment we are, so I'm very happy.

"We've been playing really well even in the games we haven't won.

"If we can keep with that level of performance I'm sure we'll continue to do well."

A sustained push up the table will almost certainly bring back some of the club's stay-away fans and Tait is urging supporters to favour an afternoon on the terraces rather an afternoon around the shops.

He said: "I hope we do get a few more fans through the gates but I would have thought there'll be quite a few getting nagged over Christmas shopping.

"I'm sure they'd choose the game any day and I just hope the weather improves.

"The crowds have been down a little but you have to put that partly down to the weather.

"We are trying to put things right at the club and we want to do it for the fans as much as anybody."

Read more about the Quakers here.