Ole Soderberg has joined Darlington to take Sam Russell "out of the firing line" explained manager Mark Cooper after the Swede made his bow on Saturday.

The Newcastle United reserve has joined on a month's loan and his debut in a 2-0 win over Newport County saw Quakers keep their first clean sheet since the second weekend of the season.

Russell was on the bench, dropped as one of six changes after Tuesday's 3-0 home defeat to Southport, but Cooper explained that the Teessider being out of action is merely a temporary measure.

"Sam has been a bit low on confidence, as you saw the other night, and maybe three or four weeks out of the firing line will do him good and get him back to where he was last season.

"I thought Ole did very well. He dropped a few but at least he came and took them. Once your keeper starts doing that your defenders know where you are and you're not defending on your own goal-line.

"That's no reflection on Sam. I think he's a tremendous keeper. But he's suffered a little bit in confidence, in how he's been playing.

"If your goalie loses confidence, and he's your last line of defence, then sometimes they have to come out of the firing line. Sam will be fine."

Soderberg, 21, joined Newcastle three years ago, but is yet to make his first-team bow, although he has been on the bench.

Cooper added: "I know the Newcastle goalkeeper coach, Andy Woodman, and they think Ole is an outstanding prospect. We're grateful to them for letting us have him.

"We tried to get another one in, a midfielder with lightning pace, but we may have to wait a little longer."

The Northern Echo understands that player to be Yven Moyo, one of several that Cooper is keeping tabs on.

More inspirational performances such as Saturday's from centre-back Graeme Lee would certainly help to turn the season around.

Cooper said: "Graeme has been very vocal this week, in terms of leading and in terms of what's expected of a professional footballer.

"And he put those words into practice. He must have headed about a hundred balls. Full credit to the back four for keeping a clean sheet. I'd have been absolutely hammered if we hadn't won, having dropped the keeper, but you have to make these decisions."

* Darlington's youth team won 1-0 on Saturday at Lincoln City with Dale Hopson scoring.