DARLINGTON manager Alun Armstrong will be looking for an instant improvement from his players when they go to Guiseley tonight.

Quakers were well below the standard of their Swindon and Curzon Ashton performances when they lost at home to Telford on Saturday, and Armstrong wants an all-round better performance as they look for their second league win of the season.

“We need three points to get us going again after last Saturday’s game,” he said.
“I thought we played some good football in the first half. We created some good chances and could have been 2-1 or 3-1 up, and Johnny didn’t have much to do at the other end, but in the second half there was nobody occupying their centre halves. There was nobody running behind their defence.

“It was the manner of the goals we conceded that annoyed me. I wouldn’t say that Telford put us under a lot of pressure, it was just one ball forward and their front man was coming out with the ball. That shouldn’t be happening.

“When you look at what we’ve done so far this season and what we’ve got, we have a good squad of players but we can’t give soft goals away like that – it’s just weak defending.

“It was chalk and cheese compared to what happened at Swindon.

“How can we play so well one week, and then so badly in some ways the next? The other way of looking at it is, if you take the abandoned Boston game out of the equation, then we’ve only lost once in five league and cup games, but it was the performance on Saturday that shocked us.

“I’ve told the players that they need to get back at it now. They must show people what they’re capable of, and they’re fighting for their places now. If they want to stay in the team, I want a lot more than that.”

Defender Nicky Hunt is still missing because of concussion protocols following his incident a week ago, while midfielder Joe Wheatley is doubtful because of family reasons. Top scorer Luke Charman is also struggling with an ankle injury, caused by an opponent’s kick in the abandoned game against Boston.

Nethermoor saw one of Quakers’ best displays last season when they won 2-1 with former Guiseley player Will Hatfield amongst the goals, and Armstrong will want a similar performance tonight.

Elsewhere in Vanarama National League North tonight, Spennymoor have a north east derby at home to Blyth Spartans, but Gateshead’s away game at York is postponed because of a Covid outbreak in the York camp.