RECORDING an impressive away win that came with the sort of defensive solidity that has sometimes been lacking this season means Darlington go into this weekend likely to name an unchanged team.

Last week’s 1-0 win over Blyth Spartans was Quakers’ first away success since October, and saw Liam Hughes and Sam Muggleton come into the starting XI.

Joe Wheatley and Harvey Saunders both dropped to the bench and manager Tommy Wright admits he will probably stick with the same starting XI tomorrow when Southport visit Blackwell Meadows.

“Joe was ill all last week,” explained Wright.

“He missed the Bishop friendly and he didn’t train on the Thursday, so we decided to go with Tom Elliott and Romal Palmer in midfield as they did really well against Bishop Auckland and they did well again against Blyth.

“Joe has trained well this week. We have to weigh things up for the weekend but it would be harsh to make any changes.”

Saunders made way as Simon Ainge was used up front, his place in defence being taken by Hughes who made a return after a month away from the club due to personal reasons, Wright admitting he was unable to resist temptation in selecting him in the starting XI, and the result vindicated his decision.

The manager added: “We had spoken all week about going 4-4-2. We had caused Blyth problems playing that way earlier in the season and we switched to 4-4-2 in the previous couple of away games and done well with it – at Curzon we got an equalising goal from it – so all week that’s the formation we were thinking of starting with.

“That’s how we played at Bishop when Alex Henshall did really well, but it was so tempting to put Hughesy back in.

“I didn’t want him in a back-four, so I put him between Terry Galbraith and Will Smith and I think it worked.

“He was rusty and he needs to work on his fitness, but it gave the lads a lift. Tactically, having three centre-halves killed the space in behind for Dan Maguire and we kept him quiet. He had a shot in the first half that Jonny Maddison saved, and a header that went wide in the second half, so that’s not bad when you’re playing against a player like that.”

Darlington have reduced admission tomorrow. Adult tickets are £10, seniors £8, under-16s £4 and under-11s free.