NEW signing Alex Storey is in line for his Darlington debut tomorrow.

Quakers are at Alfreton and, as well as being without several players due to injury, Jordan Watson will be attending a wedding and his absence creates an opportunity for Story to make his mark.

Storey, 21, a centre-back, has been playing for Sunderland RCA in the Northern League, but has previously been in Sunderland’s youth system and was on trial at Middlesbrough in pre-season.

“He played against us for Middlesbrough in the summer,” said manager Alun Armstrong. “A few weeks ago Craig Liddle recommended him, but we had four centre-halves at the time.

“He’s a good footballer, has got good pedigree because he was at Sunderland and Lidds said he would do a job for us, so I kept him in mind in case anything happened.

“Since then Josh Heaton left, David Atkinson needs an operation, I probably can’t risk Louis Laing and Jordan Watson is away on Saturday.

“So in the space of a few weeks I’ve gone from having four or five centre-halves to one.”

Storey has joined on a dual registration basis, and Armstrong said: “Alex has played a few games for RCA to keep his fitness up, but you always listen when someone has been recommended.

“The kid wants to play at a higher level, but if it gets to a point when Laingy and Jordan come back and he’s not getting a game then he might want to play for RCA to keep his fitness up.”

Darlington had thought Watson would serve a one-match ban tomorrow after collecting his fifth caution of the season in the FA Cup at Trafford last weekend.

However, Armstrong said: “We thought he was suspended, but I’ve been told the FA have changed the rules and suspensions are competition-specific now.”

That would rule Watson out of the FA Cup match at Leamington in a week’s time.

Laing sustained a hamstring injury a fortnight ago in the defeat to York City.

“Laingy has made a great improvement,” explained the manager. “But I’ve got to be realistic and I can’t risk him pulling his hamstring again.

“He did a lot of running on Tuesday, but I can’t risk anyone given the amount of injuries we’ve got. I can’t afford another one.”

Luke Trotman ruptured an Achilles tendon in the first weeks of the season, Jamie Holmes is scheduled to have surgery to repair his cruciate ligament in the first week of October, while Atkinson will be sidelined for three months once he has had an ankle op.

“As a player or manager I’ve never seen anything like it,” said a frustrated Armstrong. “Yes you get injuries, hamstrings, thighs and groins, it happens, but not three major injuries in the space of a few weeks, not at this level.

“Financially it makes it very difficult. We were struggling to cope anyway. On Saturday we’ll have five players missing. It’s mad, but we just have to get on with it.”