Darlington boss Mark Cooper is keeping his FA Trophy final team selection under wraps, but he expects his players to be able to guess Saturday's starting XI.

The manager says he has already selected nine or ten of his line-up for the match with Mansfield Town at Wembley, and that the formation he chooses to play will dictate the last remaining places.

The team trained at The Northern Echo Arena yesterday and will do so one more time tomorrow before travelling on Friday morning, by which stage Cooper expects his preferred XI to become apparent.

He said: "They'll know themselves what the team is, they'll work it out.

"When we work on team shape in training they'll know then. We've done it on Monday and today and one or two probably know already what the team is going to be.

"I've got nine or ten in my mind who are going to play, but it depends on what formation we are going to play.

"It won't be nice telling people they are not playing, but if they aren't starting they'll be on the bench and that means they might have to come on and score the winner or get an important block in to win the Trophy.

"It's very rare that you finish a game at Wembley with the same team that started."

Whereas Cooper is close to finalising his side, Mansfield's options suffered a blow yesterday when two of their players were ruled out.

In a repeat of the circumstances that kept Kevin Austin out of the Darlington reckoning, the Stags' Luke Medley and Mark Preece were deemed ineligible.

Austin cannot play for Quakers as he was on loan at Boston during the semi-final stage of the Trophy, and the same rules have sidelined Medley and Preece.

After returning to Field Mill for the final month of the campaign, both featured regularly with Medley appearing in seven of the last nine games and Preece playing in five matches.

Stags are hoping to win an appeal lodged against the dismissal of Steven Istead. The former Hartlepool midfielder was sent off for serious foul play against Bath City at the weekend.

No matter what side Mansfield boss Duncan Russell selects, he is expecting a direct approach from Darlington.

Speaking last week, he said: "Mark Cooper's side are normally big and strong and they are going to say ‘hello, they are dodgy on set pieces. Run them down the sides, get corners, get free kicks and we've got a chance of beating them'."

His comments have not gone unnoticed at The Northern Echo Arena. Cooper, with no small amount of sarcasm, responded last night, saying: "We are, apparently, renowned as a big, strong, direct side that will play for set-pieces and long throws, even though we haven't got a long throw in the side.

"That's what I read, that Mark Cooper's teams are always big, strong and direct. If that's what it takes to win, then that's what we'll do."

While Darlington are preparing for the FA Trophy final, the club's youth team this evening play in a final of their own.

Craig Liddle's side contest the Youth Alliance Cup final against Wycombe Wanderers (ko 7pm).

To reach the final, being played at Wycombe's Adams Park, Quakers beat Bradford, Tranmere, Morecambe and Wigan during a season in which they also tasted some success in the FA Youth Cup before losing to Arsenal.

Head of youth Liddle said: "The lads have enjoyed a fantastic season this year, on all fronts.

"They did well in the FA Youth Cup and enjoyed the experience of playing Arsenal away.

"They've continued to do well in the league and have won the northern final of the Youth Alliance League Cup, meaning we've got a national final to look forward to."

Tickets on sale now

A LIMITED number of tickets for the final are available from the club from 10am today.

Tickets are no longer available via Ticketmaster (online or by phone).

Quakers have sold more than 8,200 tickets, and have secured a small number of tickets to sell on behalf of Ticketmaster from the Northern Echo Arena.

A booking fee of £1.40 per ticket will be added to each ticket sold at the Arena, and the standard credit card charges will also apply, as was those sold by Ticketmaster.

The tickets are in Block 115, no other blocks are available and supporters will be sold next available ticket - specific row or seats cannot chosen.

Meanwhile, Darlington have sold nearly 1,000 seats on their official club coaches, also available from the club, priced £30 each, either in person at the Arena, or on 01325-387000.