DARLINGTON’S return to the Arena has been temporarily placed on hold – with this Saturday’s FA Cup tie with Prescot Cables due to take place behind-closed-doors at Blackwell Meadows.

Quakers had hoped to stage their return to action after a six-month hiatus in front of spectators at the Arena, having agreed to temporarily relocate to their former home in an attempt to boost attendances.

However, the latest guidance from the Government and FA stipulates that clubs at level two of the pyramid – which applies to Darlington, Spennymoor Town, York City and Blyth Spartans in National League North – must play their matches behind-closed-doors.

With the playing surface at the Arena not yet ready to stage football games, the club have therefore decided to remain at Blackwell Meadows for this weekend’s FA Cup second preliminary round tie.

A Quakers statement said: “The latest guidance is that we are unable to play in front of crowds, which means that the game must be played behind closed doors.  That decision is out of our control.

“However, we are working very hard on a means of bringing the game to the fans by installing Quaker TV at Blackwell Meadows so then the game can be televised. The pitch at the Arena isn't ready to stage our matches yet.

“There is a team of people currently planning and working very hard on installing Quaker TV, and we hope to announce more details on how to subscribe as the week goes on.

“The subscription for the game is expected to be £7.99. Season ticket holders will see league games for free as part of their package whilst games are held behind closed doors, but unfortunately not FA Cup ties.”