TONY McMAHON admits Darlington’s players will be on a ‘retrieval mission’ when they host Tadcaster Albion in the FA Cup third qualifying round tomorrow night.

Quakers slumped to their second league defeat of the season as they lost to Kidderminster on Saturday, and whereas their midweek performance against AFC Fylde had been reasonably bright, boss Alun Armstrong was unable to put a positive spin on his side’s weekend display.

Armstrong questioned his players’ character after they threw away a one-goal lead to crash to a 3-1 defeat, and McMahon readily admits the display was unacceptable.

Tomorrow’s game provides an immediate opportunity to make amends, with Darlington taking on a Tadcaster side that play two levels below Quakers in the North-West Division of the Northern Premier League.

“To concede three goals in any game is not good enough,” admitted McMahon, who joined Darlington in the summer after a successful professional career that saw him represent seven different clubs including Middlesbrough, Sheffield United and Bradford City. “After going one-up, then we should have kept on the front foot, but we didn’t and we’re absolutely fuming.

“This league gives you another chance though. The games come thick and fast, and now we’ve got the FA Cup to put things right. We can’t dwell on things, we’ve got to bounce back and start winning football matches.

“After any defeat, you want the next game straight away. Luckily we’ve got one so we don’t have a week to dwell on things. I’m quite sure there’ll be a positive reaction and we’ll go out and win the game.”

Darlington will be without Will Hatfield tomorrow, with the skipper having suffered a hamstring injury in the very first minute of Saturday’s game.

Armstrong had not even taken his seat on the balcony at Blackwell Meadows when Hatfield was forced to hobble off, and even though the new campaign is less than a fortnight old, Darlington’s injury problems are already mounting.

“Will’s a big player for us, and to lose him so early in the game and the season is a big blow,” admitted McMahon. “It’s a massive disappointment, but we can’t look for excuses and we won’t.”