New Darlington captain Joey Hutchinson has dedicated the much-needed win at Stockport County to the coaching staff after the management were criticised during the recent bad run.

The win, on December 10, was Quakers' first in six matches and boosted confidence ahead of Saturday's game with Grimsby Town, which was postponed due to a frozen pitch.

The miserable run, which had seen Quakers taste victory just twice in 16 games, saw some sections of supporters call for the departure of manager David Hodgson.

But Hutchinson, who recently took over the captaincy from fellow defender Matt Clarke, has wasted no time in jumping to the defence of Hodgson.

The 23-year-old said: "The win at Stockport was dedicated to the management from the players for sticking to their guns after taking a bit of unnecessary criticism over the past few weeks.

"I feel the players owe a lot to them because an awful lot of work goes in on their behalf to make sure the players have every chance on a Saturday afternoon.

"But after crossing the white line it is up to the players to perform for the club.

"We have all been taking a bit of stick of late for not scoring as fluently as maybe we should and not winning games week in, week out as expected.

"But I feel we are now on the right track to more consistent performances."

Quakers' next home game is a week tonight against Barnet (7.30pm) but before then they travel to Carlisle United on Boxing Day (1pm).

The 3-0 win at Stockport was massive relief for Darlington and Hutchinson admits it acted as a moral booster.

"The mood in the camp is more upbeat after scoring three goals and keeping a clean sheet," he said.

"Goals have been few and far between in the last few weeks so to score three was a good confidence boost for everyone involved."

No date has been arranged for Darlington's rearranged game with Grimbsy Town.

l Ritchie Humphreys is hoping for a Christmas repeat show to kick-start Hartlepool United's play-off push.

The ever-present left-back was part of the Pool side that sailed through last season's festive programme by raking in 23 points from a possible 27.

Saturday's defeat at Walsall was hard to take, the late winning goal coming after Pool enjoyed long periods on top.

Humphreys is confident that they can go one better in the Boxing Day game at Barnsley.

"We've a big period coming up. We don't play on Saturday, so it's a long wait until Boxing Day,'' he said. "The games come thick and fast and of course we wanted to go into the festive period on a high with a win at Walsall.

"This period has been a good one for the club in the last few seasons. Last year we were on a very good run around this time of year and we hope for the same.

"We've put in some good performances of late, all that has been missing has been the finishing touch. If we had that we could have been looking at three wins in a row.''

Read more about the Quakers here.