Martin Smith is poised to return to the starting line-up tonight at home to Accrington Stanley as Darlington bid to maintain the momentum gained from their unbeaten run.

The left midfielder came off the bench to rescue a point at Swindon Town on Saturday but has rarely featured in recent weeks due to a virus.

He was arguably Quakers' best player in the first half of the season, scoring nine goals by December, but since the turn of the year Smith has been sidelined and sorely missed.

Prior to Saturday he had featured in just two of Darlington's seven games in 2007 but, after impressing in his 30-minute appearance at the County Ground, manager Dave Penney is ready to recall the ex-Sunderland 32-year-old.

Quakers started the game in a 4-3-3 formation but returned to 4-4-2 when Smith entered the fray and Penney said: "Martin trained all last week and we thought a lot about going back to 4-4-2 and starting him at Swindon.

"But we just thought it might be a little early for him and we wanted to make sure he would be available for Tuesday.

"So his half hour cameo role and his goals means he's a lot nearer to starting.

"He's in our first choice XI when we play 4-4-2. We'll see how he's feeling after Saturday, make sure he's illness and injury clear.

"I think we'll more than likely go back to 4-4-2, especially after the frustration of the Boston home game."

Defender Tim Ryan remains sidelined with a hamstring injury but the return to fitness of Tommy Wright means Penney has a selection dilemma on his hands as he must choose who to leave out of the forward line.

Wright, Alun Armstrong, Gregg Blundell, Julian Joachim and Simon Johnson are all vying for positions and Penney says that strength in depth is giving him more options.

Wright, Smith and Joachim all came off the bench to good effect on Saturday and Penney said: "I think you can see that as a squad we're looking much stronger and resilient.

"With the additions we have made, plus with other people getting fit, I have got players there who can come on and change things.

"The other benefit in having good players on the bench is that we're flexible. We have other formations available to us.

"We started with 4-3-3 on Saturday and could have switched to 3-5-2 with Evan Horwood and Neil Wainwright as wing-backs but we finished with 4-4-2.

"We changed it to become a little bit more attack-minded, 4-4-2 gave us more width and when that ball fell to Martin Smith nobody expected him to miss."

* To celebrate Neil Wainwright's 250th appearance for the club on Saturday, Quakers are to sell commemorative T-shirts, which will be available at the ground tonight