DARLINGTON manager Alun Armstrong won’t be content with just a second-round appearance when Quakers look for another FA Cup giant-killing at Bristol Rovers on Sunday, writes Ray Simpson.

Quakers stunned League One Swindon Town by 2-1 at the County Ground in the last round, one of four successive away wins for the club in league and FA Cup that has given them plenty of encouragement for their meeting with Rovers, who are fourth bottom in League One.

“Who knows what will happen,” he said. “It’s 11 v 11, and like I said when we played Swindon, hopefully Bristol will have an off day, and we’ll have a good day and we’ll get through to the third round.

“We always looked to go further than last season when we played at Walsall in the first round, but it looked as if we wouldn’t get back past our second qualifying-round match when we were one penalty away from going out, and Jonny Saltmer made a fantastic save and we ended up winning the penalty shootout. For us to get where we are, I’m delighted, but the third round is the goal for the club this year.”

Rovers recently appointed Paul Tisdale as their manager, replacing Ben Garner, who was sacked after they were beaten 4-1 at home by Fleetwood three weeks ago.

“I think it would have been a similar game to the Swindon game, but they’ve brought a new manager in Paul Tisdale, who has tried a few formations with his players, and he’ll know them a little bit more. I’m sure he’ll have them fired up, and he’ll maybe rest a few and had a look at the younger lads,” said Armstrong.

“You never know, he’s got to look at the full squad, and I would think his priority is maybe the league – the same as us. It’s a much bigger opportunity for us than it is for them, but we just hope that they have an off day and we must have that little bit of luck and FA Cup magic.”

Armstrong has played in the second round as a player for Stockport and Quakers, but this is his first time in charge of a club.

“I’ve been at this stage as a player and as an underdog – I got to the third round with Stockport against Everton, scored, but we lost 3-2 in the last minute,” he said. “But as a manager, it’s something special when you get a group of players through to the second round. It does feel different, you take a bit more satisfaction from it than you do as a player. I just need to pick a team that will get us the right result on Sunday. I’m under a little bit of pressure to pick the right team because there are a few places available at the moment.

“There are a few non-league clubs left in the competition and we just want to be one of those clubs that get through. It happens every year when somebody goes through, and it would be massive if we did – for the town, the fans who own the club and everyone associated with it.”

Under ordinary circumstances, Quakers would have taken around 1,000 fans to Bristol for the biggest game yet as a fan-owned club, but instead their following will have to watch the game on TV and online. Armstrong is full of praise for their backing.

Centre-half Nicky Hunt has come through a training session without any ill-effects on the head injury he sustained against Boston earlier this month and is available for selection, along with fellow defender Tony McMahon.