Darlington assistant manager Mick Tait is demanding that his team start positively in their crucial home game with in-form Scunthorpe United this afternoon.

With Carlisle drawing level on points with the Quakers after a 1-0 win over Torquay last night, Tait knows they can't afford to be as slow out of the blocks as against Hartlepool in their last home game.

They also produced a below-par first half performance at Kiddererminster last weekend but despite that, they have lost just once in their last six matches.

"It is going to be a really tough game," said Tait.

"Scunthorpe are going well at the moment and need the points to help them towards the play-offs, while we need for them an entirely different reason.

"We must get off to a good start, have plenty of the ball early on and impose ourselves upon them. If we can dictate the tempo of the game, then we have every chance."

Tait was pleased with the way the players responded in the second half at Kidderminster last week, and wants the team to continue in the same vein against the Iron this afternoon.

"I thought we did well in the second half and we were unlucky not to get three points. The only thing that was missing was a goal.

"If we can just add a little bit more in an attacking sense, then the team will gel together a little bit more.

"Gary (Bennett) and I keep trying to impress upon the players that the harder they work the more chance we have of things coming right and confidence growing. Confidence doesn't just come overnight, it comes from hard work."

Craig Liddle, who is likely to wear the captain's armband for the rest of the season now that Martin Gray has had a hernia operation, said: "Today is another massive game we have to win to keep us away from the bottom of the table.

"We've got seven home games left this season and we must be looking to win four of them to make sure we stay up.

"We've all got to support each other on the field and really roll our sleeves up and battle through every game.

"The lads are keen to clinch safety so we can start thinking about next season."

Manager Gary Bennett is not giving much away, but he was happy enough with a battling performance at Kidderminster to suggest that he could name an unchanged side today.

However, he will be anxious that Darlington hit the back of the net after two successive blanks.

Scunthorpe are the division's form team, with four wins out of their last five matches, and will probably give former Quaker Martin Carruthers his debut today after signing him from Southend for £20,000 this week. Fans are reminded that today's game kicks off at 1pm .

l Tickets go on sale on Monday for the all-ticket game at Brighton on Easter Monday.