IT would surprise nobody if Reece Styche scores on Saturday when the charismatic striker plays for Alfreton against Darlington, the team he did so well for in his year at Blackwell Meadows.

While manager Tommy Wright believes his players should concentrate on their own game rather attempting to negate their former team-mate, ex fans’ favourites seemingly inevitably score in matches against their old clubs.

Examples involving Darlington include David Currie’s hat-trick for Scarborough in 1997, Robbie Painter’s brace for Rochdale the same year and Dale Hopson for Whitby Town in 2016.

The history books contain plenty more demonstrations of football’s unwritten law, and more recently Jamie Chandler netted for Spennymoor Town towards the end of last season, a 2-1 win for Quakers in which Styche also scored.

It was one of 18 goals in 33 matches, including a hat-trick against Brackley this season, during a year in which Styche fulfilled Tommy Wright’s promise on arrival from Tamworth in November 2017 that he would become a cult hero.

However, in October after the team’s mediocre start to the season, a financial decision was made by Darlington’s board, one that Wright accepted reluctantly, that Styche had to be sold.

He has since scored six times for Alfreton, adding to his five for Darlington this season, but Wright wants his team not to focus too heavily on the physical forward.

“We’re causing teams problems, so if we focus on one player we could end up getting stung, we just need to concentrate on ourselves,” said Wright, whose team have won three of their last four games.

“Reece will be determined, of course he will, he will want to prove a point there’s no doubt about that, and he will be well up for it.

“I had fruitful spells against my old clubs, and it’s not a given that he will score, but I wouldn’t mind if he did as long as we win.”

Wright was also Styche’s manager at Nuneaton and they remain good friends. He added: “I talk to him most weeks, and last time I spoke to him it was last Saturday after the Kidderminster game.

“He will score at this level, that’s what he does, he scores goals. As a team Alfreton have underperformed, and so have we, so have a lot of clubs in this league, but they remain a threat.

“They were in great form before they lost Tom Denton, but they haven’t settled since then.”

In last season’s meeting at Alfreton, a year ago this weekend, Styche scored in a 1-1 draw that saw Darlington concede a late penalty after goalkeeper James Talbot was sent off.

Alfreton are 15th and on the same points as Darlington and, like Quakers, their season has not been as successful as planned following a recruitment drive last summer that saw a host of former Halifax Town players arrive at the Impact Arena.

Darlington play their first game since Andrew Nelson’s loan from Sunderland concluded, though a knee knock meant he missed out last weekend and Quakers managed perfectly fine, strolling to a 3-0 win against Kidderminster Harriers.

Wright said: “We’ve won games without Stephen Thompson, we’ve won games without Reece Styche and we’ve won other games without other key players – one player alone does not win a game of football.

“Saturday was a team effort, 1-11 were outstanding and that’s what the lads need to do week in, week out.

“We’ve been reliant on individuals to produce and living in their shadow a bit, sometimes players need to take responsibility as a whole and work together as a team.

“We have got a lot of individuals that have done a good job, but in terms of playing together we have let ourselves down at times.”

Thompson was man of the match seven days ago in a game he illuminated with a stunning goal, a lob from 30 yards, and will be part of what is expected to be an unchanged team.

Wright added: “Thommo has been given his shirt back, we thought it would give him his spring back and that turned out to be the case and he will have no intention of giving it up.”

Ben O’Hanlon and Alex Henshall, both not included last week due to fitness reasons, are available for selection.