DARLINGTON tonight play the game they have been waiting for, an FA Cup replay in front of a sold out Blackwell Meadows and a chance to make a name for themselves.

The first round replay with Walsall will be broadcast by BT Sports, who were attracted to the tie given that Quakers are two divisions and 42 league places below the League Two strugglers.

No doubt Darlington’s fan-owned background and renaissance since 2012 also appealed to BT, who have been at Blackwell since the beginning of the week setting up camera gantries ahead of a match that has been keenly anticipated by supporters and players alike since the teams drew 2-2 11 days ago.

An enthralling meeting saw Quakers backed by vociferous fans, Walsall putting the official figure at 1,229 though plenty of observers felt there were many more in the away end, which erupted when Joe Wheatley equalised seven minutes into injury time.

Darlington manager Alun Armstrong would like more of the same backing from the club’s supporters, and said: “We need the fans to make it an intimidating place

“Walsall will not have played at somewhere like Blackwell before. It’s brand new to them, they’ll feel the fans on the back of their necks when they’re taking throw-ins and corners.

“We need the Darlo fans with us like they were at Walsall. They were outstanding and never shut up even before the game. The away end was rammed. They said it was 1,200 but looked more than that.”

Capacity will be just under 3,100, Quakers having sold all of their tickets for the replay by last Thursday, while by Monday morning Walsall had sold 92.

Armstrong added: “We’ve got to put on a good show no matter what the result. Yes, we want to win, but we have to put a good performance on and show people what we’re about on and off the pitch.

“The fans have to behave themselves as well, we all have to represent the club properly.

“If you look at what’s happened with Macclesfield and Bury, this can be a good advertisement for Darlington and show that you can come back.”

This is the first time Quakers have reached the first round proper since becoming a fan-owned club in 2012.

Tonight’s winners will be at home to League One Oxford United in the second round, and all concerned connected to Quakers know a huge improvement on Saturday’s shambles is required if they are to stand any chance of causing an upset.

Seven days after extending their unbeaten run to eight games by drawing 2-2 at Walsall, and albeit without several players for a variety of reasons, Darlington were battered 5-1 at Brackley.

“It was two totally different bus rides on two Saturdays,” admitted Armstrong. “One week the lads are bouncing, the next week it took five hours after 5-1 defeat. It’s a hell of a trek when you lose like that.

“We let them know at half-time you cannot do that. You have to give the players credit for what they have done recently, but Saturday left a bitter taste

“You accept it when the run comes to an end, but not in that manner and that’s what hurt me the most.

“They let themselves down and I felt for the fans who travelled from all over the place to come and watch that.

“It’s not a great place to go and watch football, and the pitch was horrific, but that doesn’t excuse the defensive frailties that we showed. That has got to have been one of the worst halves I have managed.

“We started really bright and could’ve been 1-0 up, going forward we were causing problems, but once they scored I didn’t recognise our team.

“I couldn’t change it, there weren’t options on the bench and it wasn’t fair on the young ‘uns putting them into a situation like that.”

Armstrong will recall Ben Hedley at right-back after he served a one-match ban, and Michael Liddle returns at left-back if he has suffered not reaction to training on Monday for the first time since suffering a groin strain.

Clubs can name seven substitutes in the FA Cup, but Darlington are unlikely to do so due to their lack of available players, including Osagi Bacome and Justin Donawa who are in the Bermuda squad to face Mexico, a game starting at 2.30am UK time on Wednesday.

Early this week Armstrong was still hoping Bacome and Donawa could instead dash back for the FA Cup tie, saying: “I can’t tell Bermuda what to do, it’s up to them to decide whether they can be released and, realistically, they’ve got a big game against Mexico.

“Otherwise we’re going to be massively short, especially up front. There’s my young ‘un, but Mason and young Stevie can’t play.”

Rhys Armstrong, 16, will be on the bench, but Stevie Johnson and Mason Hurworth, two teenagers who made their debuts at the weekend, are not available as they were not registered for the initial tie.

Darlington are now without a focal point up front thanks to Middlesbrough recalling Tyrone O’Neill from his loan two months early.

Tonight is Quakers’ third game after seeing O’Neill return to the Riverside, since which time Boro have had one match which the striker watched from the bench.

Walsall, fourth bottom in League Two, had lost six league matches in a row before they first played Darlington, but have won each of their last two games: 2-1 versus Cambridge United and 6-0 against Forest Green in the EFL Trophy.