ADAM BARTLETT will make his Darlington debut this evening after joining from Hartlepool United.

The experienced goalkeeper yesterday left Pools to take up a role coaching in Middlesbrough’s academy, but the 31-year-old is to continue playing for Quakers who this evening face Bradford Park Avenue at Blackwell Meadows.

Bartlett, who has been on the Pools bench in recent weeks having lost his place to Joe Fryer, has racked up a career total of 343 games and was with hometown club Gateshead for three years before joining Hartlepool in 2015, making 29 appearances for the League Two club.

Bartlett will become the fifth goalkeeper Darlington have used this season and comes into a team which has kept two clean sheets in a row, both 1-0 wins that have enhanced hopes of finishing in the top five.

Darlington defeated Bradford Park Avenue 2-1 in September when the Yorkshire club were rock-bottom, but they have steadily climbed the table to 18th in recent months under new manager Mark Bower, who played for Quakers in 2009.

Quakers have also enjoyed some improved results of late, taking maximum points in four of their last six fixtures, to hoist themselves up to fifth before last night’s programme of matches.

“It’s a psychological boost,” said manager Martin Gray, after his team move to fifth at the weekend. “At this stage of the season, eight games to go, it’s important to stay focused. Eight big games to go, Bradford Park Avenue first and it’ll be another tough game.

“They are somewhere nearer to being safe, but we don’t underestimate anybody.”

Darlington have overcome Stalybridge and Brackley with 1-0 wins in their last two matches, both deserved victories, and midfielder Phil Turnbull believes his team-mates will remain focused on the task at hand.

He said: “We have to continue Saturday’s form on Wednesday otherwise the Brackley result means nothing. You won’t get complacency here.

“The manager has the lads like that, there’s a maturity in the squad, the lads don’t get carried away with a win, they don’t take their foot off the pedal.

“Come Wednesday, Saturday will be gone. We’re in a great position and we don’t want to let it slip.

“There’s belief in the squad. Martin, the type of manager that he is, instils that into his players. The lads are a bunch of winners.”

Gary Brown is again missing this evening, completing his two-match ban, while Leon Scott serves the last of his four-game suspension.

Gray hopes Kevin Burgess can return from the minor injury that caused him to sit out Saturday’s fixture, but in his and Brown’s absence Terry Galbraith and Chris Hunter performed admirably as stand-in centre-backs to help Quakers keep their fourth clean sheet of the season.

“Since I’ve been here all of our success has been built on clean sheets because we know that we’ll always nick a goal at once stage in the game,” added Turnbull.

“This season hasn’t been good enough, but we kept a clean sheet on Saturday and credit to Chrissy and Tez.

“I don’t think Tez lost a header, his quality on the ball was good, and the back four was solid. I don’t think we ever really felt under threat.

“As long as it’s 1-0 it always feels a little bit edgy, but we fully deserved the win.”