THREE of Darlington’s remaining five fixtures are against teams close to the bottom of the table, starting on Saturday at home to third-bottom FC United of Manchester.

Among their games include matches with Guiseley (19th) and Leamington (17th), though Quakers’ embattled supporters know not to expect too much from their team during what’s been a challenging season.

Darlington have won only nine of their 39 games in league and cup leaving them 18th in the table, nine points above the relegation zone.

A win today would seal their place in the National League North, though it is hardly a home banker given Darlington’s poor form at Blackwell Meadows, where they have not won since January 5.

In 2018-19 they have had 20 games at Blackwell Meadows, winning five, drawing five and losing ten.

Tommy Wright’s team also failed to win any of their final three matches of last season at Blackwell, give the team a record of five wins in their last 23 matches on home soil.

Chester were the latest opposition team to win at Blackwell ten days ago, scoring via a set-piece a goal that’s been popular online, a well-worked free-kick routine making the most of Quakers not being alert to the danger.

Away to Stockport County seven days ago Darlington were again undone by set-pieces, two goals both scored from corners.

Midfielder Omar Holness was absent due to suspension, and while Quakers’ Jamaican is available today Luke Trotman will miss his first match of the season after being sent off at Stockport for receiving two cautions.

Last month right-back Trotman played in the same England C team as FC United striker Kurt Willoughby who scored direct from a free-kick in a 2-2 draw against Wales.

Having scored 18 goals in 39 appearances this season, Willoughby is sure to avoid the cull threatened by United manager Neil Reynolds in the wake of his team’s humiliating 4-0 defeat at home to bottom-of-the-table Nuneaton Borough.

It was “arguably the worst performance in the club’s 14-year history and has almost certainly relegated the club to the Northern Premier League” said United in a forthright statement this week.

They added: “Since Saturday, Reno has spoken to a number of players about their future at the club. He has already committed to accelerating the introduction of at least four of FC United’s table topping under-21s players for Saturday’s game at Darlington.”

n Darlington manager Tommy Wright was unavailable for comment in this match preview.