DARLINGTON’S first game at Blackwell Meadows will not be next week against Salford City on December 3, but the club say their move back to the town is on course to take place next month.

They have never publicly stated that December 3 was their target, but it is understood that was the date officials had in mind.

However, a statement this morning by the club revealed that there remains work to be done on completing the upgrade of facilities at Blackwell, including new changing rooms and toilets.

Therefore, Quakers will play at least twice more at Heritage Park: on Sunday in the FA Trophy against Marine (3pm) and also versus Salford.

Should they advance in the Trophy, the next round is on December 10 so a home draw could represent Darlington’s maiden match at Blackwell.

Alternatively, assuming the club do move in December, the first fixture will be on Boxing Day against Halifax Town.

The statement read: “Last week the first formal inspections of the Blackwell Meadows stadium were undertaken by both the Football Association and the Safety Advisory Group while discussions were also held with the National League regarding our return to Darlington.

“Both inspections went well, while the National League formally approved the move to Blackwell and importantly our mid-season return to Darlington subject to the ground achieving Category B approval prior to our first match.

“To achieve this, there are a number of outstanding items that need completion over the next few weeks including the completion of the new changing rooms, officials’ areas and installation of the modular spectator toilet blocks.

“Due to timing requirements for these works plus the time to certify the ground for both Safety and FA requirements, the Salford game on Saturday 3rd December will take place at Heritage Park.

“As announced at the last fans’ forum, the club remains on track to host its first game in Darlington in December and we want to thank all the fans for their patience and support.

“The club will issue a further update in due course as works progress and further inspections are undertaken.”