DARLINGTON will attempt to improve on last season’s creditable FA Cup first-round performance when they take on League One side Swindon Town at the County Ground tomorrow afternoon.

Quakers went to another League One side, Walsall, last season and pulled off an excellent 2-2 draw courtesy of a last-gasp equaliser by Joe Wheatley, before losing to a single goal in the replay at Blackwell Meadows.

They’re aiming to go one better this season and be in the hat for the second round on Monday – the first time they’ll have done so in their own right since they beat Bristol Rovers 2-1 in 2010.

“I’ve told the lads that we must target going one better,” said manager Alun Armstrong, who was in the Darlington team on the last occasion they played Swindon back in 2007, a 1-1 draw at the County Ground.

“Last year, we got to the first round and fell a little bit short, maybe because we didn’t have a strong enough bench at that time. I couldn’t change things and make an impact.

“There’s no reason why we can’t win when you look at where we are – we’ve won our last three games, scored 11 goals and conceded one. If we perform like we did last Saturday at Curzon Ashton when we won 3-0, with the same intensity and workrate, then we’re in with a great shout.

“I think we’ve got Football League players in the squad, and in my opinion they’re more than capable of playing at that level. Luke Charman keeps centre-halves occupied and that frees up Adam Campbell to run into dangerous positions.

The only disappointment is that we haven’t got Erico Sousa available, which is a bit of a blow because he played ever so well for us last Saturday.”

Unfortunately, tomorrow’s game will be behind closed doors once again, so the fans – whose loud backing made a big difference last season -- will have to find another means of taking in the game.

“It’s a great window for the lads and the club, but the biggest disappointment will be that none of the fans will be there in person, whereas we had 1,200 last season at Walsall,” said Armstrong.

“It’s going to be a little different because we haven’t got the fanbase behind us, but the lads are really excited by it. It’s a great opportunity for some of the lads we’ve brought into the club, such as Luke Charman, to show people what they’re capable of.

“I’ve had a look at Swindon’s history in the last couple of seasons. They went up last season on points per game from League Two and played some fantastic football.

"They had that little bit of momentum, but they’ve had an upsetting time this week with the manager leaving and we’ve got to try and capitalise on that.

“I’m sure Swindon will have done their homework. They won’t take us lightly because they don’t want a cup upset. It’s the same when we play teams lower down, you don’t want to be the one that’s beaten.”

Midfielder Will Hatfield could be on the bench if he has recovered properly from a hamstring injury, but another midfielder, David Atkinson, is still injured. Sousa is cup-tied having already played in Tadcaster’s defeat at Blackwell Meadows earlier in the competition.

The Robins have had a week to forget, with manager Richie Wellens quitting to take over at Salford City. Assistant Noel Hunt took charge for Tuesday’s 4-2 defeat at Plymouth.