ALL 20 Premier League clubs return to action this weekend and Darlington are doing likewise, though Quakers’ winter break was anything but intentional.

Fixtures within the last fortnight at Boston United and at home to Leamington were scuppered by the weather, and the impact of Storm Dennis threatened today’s game at Hereford too.

The Bulls, however, are confident they can stage the match at Edgar Street where Darlington bid to build on the point gained last time out, a 1-1 draw at Kidderminster Harriers two weeks ago.

The result came after suffering back-to-back 3-0 defeats to both Chester and Guiseley, so 11th-placed Darlington are due a win, their last three-point haul having been away to Guiseley on January 21.

“The performance at Kiddy wasn’t great but it was a tough game against a decent side who are in a false position. A week later they got a good draw up at Gateshead, reflected manager Alun Armstrong.

“So a draw down there wasn’t a bad result, but we’ve been kicking our heels for a fortnight. You can probably lose sharpness by not playing for two weeks.

“But we need a result and we need to go on a run again.”

With Wearside League club Darlington Town at home last Saturday at Eastbourne Sports Complex, Quakers were unable to train in lieu of their home game with Leamington being postponed, a decision which proved premature given the blustery but playable conditions in the North-East on Saturday afternoon when both Gateshead and Blyth staged fixtures.

Darlington had called off their game on the Friday, a decision presumably met with few complaints from Leamington given they had played in midweek and selected a strong side for a Birmingham Senior Cup quarter-final tie against Wolves under-23s.

Quakers have at least prepared well for today’s fixture by travelling to Herefordshire yesterday, a decision made on Armstrong’s insistence.

It is something the team has done for previous long-distance trips this season, though not one that has always resulted in favourable scorelines.

Armstrong points out, however: “It’ll be five hours on the bus, the driver needs to stop for 45 minutes, plus some of the lads are coming from Newcastle to our pick-up point, so some of them will do seven hours on the bus before playing a game of football.

“Travelling that far would’ve killed the lads mentally. It makes it a tough gig for anyone, and it was the same for Hereford when they came up here.

“They set up in a 4-5-1 and left Stychey up front on his own and the rest of the team sat behind the ball.

“It’ll be difficult for us down there but we’ve got to try and get a result.”

Quakers will not face former striker Reece Styche as he yesterday left Hereford to sign for Bromsgrove Sporting. Attacking midfielder Jordan Nicholson, Quakers’ top scorer last season, is currently on loan from Hereford to Buxton.

Hereford, 17th in the table, have also been without a match for two weeks and are without a win since New Year’s Day.

A 2-1 win over Kidderminster stands as their only win in their last 21 matches in league and cup, a period during which they drew 0-0 at Blackwell Meadows in November.