HAVING had their shortest away trip on Tuesday, tomorrow Darlington undertake one of their longest and do so buoyed by their midweek display.

Only a last-minute Spennymoor Town equaliser, meaning the game ended 2-2, prevented Quakers from taking the three points from a match in which they were much improved on last weekend’s season opener.

A 2-1 home loss to Curzon Ashton and largely underwhelming performance against opposition which finished 18th last season was hugely disappointing, but Tommy Wright’s side hope to maintain Tuesday’s standards when go to Brackley.

The 201-mile trek sees Quakers take on a team which finished third last season, and next week they got to Kidderminster Harriers, another lengthy journey, who finished fourth.

Midfielder Tom Elliott, who has started both of Darlington’s games so far, reckons his team have nothing to fear: “Anyone can beat anyone in this league and I fancy us to be right up there. The first month is massive, there’s a lot of games, a lot of points to win.

“We’ve got Brackley, Blyth and then Kidderminster, all teams that were high up for most of last season. There’s no reason why we can’t beat them as proved by Curzon beating us last week.”

Elliott put in a commanding display at the Brewery Field, part of a two-man central midfield alongside the equally impressive Joe Wheatley, Wright switching to 4-4-2 after using 4-3-3 at the weekend.

The change was influenced by the return of Stephen Thompson from holiday, plus Liam Hughes was unavailable for personal reasons, but can be called on tomorrow.

Nonetheless, it would be a surprise to see Wright alter his midfield, but he will be without suspended left-back Ben O’Hanlon.

O’Hanlon and Elliott are among the seven former Nuneaton players in Quakers’ squad, both having played Wright for the Warwickshire club.

Sheffield-based Elliott, who runs a football coaching business, said: “I knew the gaffer before I signed and the travelling isn’t too bad as there’s quite a few of us coming up from down south.

“It’s a massive club and I remember playing at Darlington last season and thinking ‘I’d love to play there every home game’, I think there were 1,200 there.

“It’s made my life easier as I’ve come in and already know a lot of the lads as I’ve played with them before, it makes it easier to gel instead of coming into a squad and not knowing how we’re going to play.”

Elliott could have crowned his debut with a goal, but wasted the opportunity, one that he admits he should have made the most of when one-on-one with the goalkeeper.

He said: “I should’ve scored really, I should’ve slotted it away. Nine times out of ten I would score that one. I hit the post as well in the second half but that was a cross!”