THE Quakers make the long trip to Brackley tonight looking for a better result than the last time they visited St James Park.

Darlington went to Brackley last season after they had drawn at Walsall in the first round of the FA Cup, and they conceded five times in a poor first half before improving slightly in the second, but they still finished on the wrong end of a 5-1 defeat.

Manager Alun Armstrong said: “The lads are raring to go tonight, their tails are up after beating Blyth in the last game we played. It will still be a big ask though, because Brackley have done well recently.

“We certainly need to do better than the last time we played there. We hit the post, then they went up the other end and scored – we conceded another four before half time.

“We didn’t have much of a bench to change things at the time, we just had kids, whereas now we’ve got a much stronger bench.

“It was in between the two Walsall games at the time, so we’ll forgive the players for that one.

“The lads did really well against Blyth and could have scored more. The win gave them a big confidence boost.”

Striker Luke Charman could start tonight’s game after recovering from injury, while defenders Nicky Hunt and Tony McMahon could also be involved from the first whistle after being rested for the Blyth game. Full back Ben Hedley and midfielder Omar Holness are both still out injured, while another full back, Michael Liddle, has work commitments.

Quakers are also hoping to complete the continued loan from Middlesbrough of striker Tyrone O’Neill, who scored twice against Blyth, in time for the game.

Tonight’s game is a consequence of their FA Cup run which saw them reach the second round on the same weekend that Brackley played at Tranmere, and has contributed to a busy fixture schedule over the next two months, with no midweek dates free until March.

After Saturday’s postponement against Spennymoor, Quakers have still only played nine league matches, and have two games to re-arrange, the home game against Chorley being the other because of their FA Trophy commitments. Their earliest available midweek date is Tuesday, February 23.

Brackley are currently seventh in the table, occupying the last playoff spot following a good run of four wins which earned their manager, Kevin Wilkin, the manager of the month award. Quakers are seven points behind their opponents, with four games in hand.

Elsewhere tonight, Spennymoor are at home to Hereford. The original game was postponed when Hereford reported Covid cases on the bus on their way up to the North-East.