PROGRESSING in the next round of the FA Trophy and retaining a place in the Darlington starting XI are the dual targets for Justin Donawa this week.

The pacey attacker from Bermuda is the team’s second-top highest scorer with eight goals and Saturday at home to Gloucester City saw him start a third successive game for the first time.

Manager Alun Armstrong has, for most of the season so far, preferred using Donawa as a substitute with his ability to hurt tiring defences becoming a useful weapon.

The 23-year-old concedes that not always being first-choice can be frustrating, but he has no complaints and is ready to play against Solihull Moors in a first-round replay on Wednesday, with the winners at home to Harrogate Town on Saturday.

He said: “It can be frustrating to any player, you want to be in the starting XI, but I know that when called upon whether that is in the starting XI or off the bench I have a job to do.

“That means to have an impact, to score goals, to help the offensively and defensively so I always stay ready. I’m glad to be starting again and getting more minutes and it’s proving to be a good little spell for me, but I’m ready for whatever the gaffer has in store for me.”

He added: “It’s going really well and I’m glad I’ve been able to impact the games so far, and now I’m looking to build on these performances going into the second half of the season.

“The gaffer and the lads are pleased with how we’ve climbed the table in recent weeks, we want to keep doing that and get into those play-off positions.”

Darlington are seventh, a point off the play-offs, after winning five of their last six league games, Donawa scoring in three of them.

It is electric pace that takes him away from defenders and draws fouls, though two of his goals this season have been with his head – against Spennymoor Town and Trafford –while he hit the crossbar with a header against Gloucester.

He admitted: “I haven’t been a player to score many headers in the past, but I guess I am utilising my athleticism a little bit more since I came here. I’m scoring headers and I got close to another one on Saturday.

“I try to utilise my speed as much as possible. I try to use that to the best of my ability to create chances.

“The football aspect is a lot more physical, I found that out from day one. I’m not the biggest guy, but you have to hold your own, and the pace of the game is a lot quicker, those are the two differences from playing in the States.

“But I have adjusted pretty well I think. Sometimes I have played against guys who are massive and twice the size of me, that’s a little bit different, but I hold my own and I don’t like to get bullied.”

Donawa previously played for Black Rock in Massachusetts in the US, and his goal tally and speed in his first season in England football is sure to have caught the eye of clubs scouring non-league for an unpolished diamond.

“I would like to play at the highest level I can,” he admitted. “I am here right now and this is my main focus, to help Darlington and preferably help us get into the National League and then back into the Football League."