Darlington's 1-0 defeat at home to Gateshead could have been the club's final match, admitted caretaker manager Craig Liddle.

Chairman Raj Singh wants to exit The Northern Echo Arena, leaving the club facing an uncertain future.

The club's players were not paid on Friday and Singh is believed to be considering placing the club into administration or even liquidation, and Liddle admitted that he could not say with certainty that Quakers will be able to fulfil their next fixture.

They are due at Barrow on Saturday, but this week Singh, as well as his financial advisors Andy Johnson and Andy Wilson, will meet a consortium of local businessmen, the Darlington Football Club Rescue Group, with a view to them taking control at the end of the season.

The hope is that the newly-formed organisation's talks will prove successful, but Liddle admitted after yesterday's defeat - inflicted by an injury-time goal by Jon Shaw - that he did not know what the future holds.

He said: "It would be a stab in the dark, but I would like to think we will still be here next week. But I can't put anybody's mind at rest and say we will because I don't know.

"I've spoken to the chairman briefly and I think we'll know at the beginning of the week where we'll be.

"I'm devastated that we lost, but there's a bigger picture to this and only time will tell what's going to happen."

Yesterday's defeat was only Liddle's second in his nine league matches since he took the helm after Mark Cooper was axed in October.

His team again played some attractive football and were unfortunate not to win, leading to a standing ovation at full-time.

He added: "It's an emotional day for myself and everybody else involved because nobody knows which way the club is going.

"The supporters were fantastic, they played their part. As I came off the pitch it was quite emotional.

"Everybody is in it together and I think we showed that today.

"We'll keep going, but I don't know where we'll be this time next week."

Singh maintained his recent low profile by not being present at The Northern Echo Arena yesterday, though right-hand man Wilson was in attendance.

Their chairman has chosen not to make any public statements since last week's short statement, leading to a raft of theories as to his reasoning for wanting to quit. But Liddle has briefly spoken to the man who took the helm at the Arena in 2009.

The caretaker manager offered his theory, saying: "I think the chairman is a little bit down if I'm honest. It's costing him a lot of money to keep the club going and he seems a bit down.

"He's taken a fair bit of criticism on messageboards and people have the right to voice their opinion, but I think he feels a bit let down by it all.

"That's not for me to speculate, that's just my opinion as to why he feels let down."

Losing saw Darlington drop a place to 13th, leaving them nine points from the play-off places, but Liddle was left looking towards the bottom of the table.

Punishment for falling into administration is a ten-point deduction, and that would see Quakers only five points above the drop zone.

He added: "I don't know if administration is to happen, but if it is we're going to be in a bit of a relegation fight so that's why, in the back of my mind, I was thinking that we needed three points today and that would give us three points away from the relegation zone.

"If we go into administration we've got a real fight on our hands, but if we do I'd like to have those boys with us because they're giving us everything they've got."

Not only would Darlington lose points should they go into administration, but they would also lose players, though they have already lost Chris Atkinson.

The midfielder's loan from Huddersfield has expired, while Sam Russell is understood to have submitted 14 days' notice after the club breached his contract by not paying his wages.

Liam Hatch, unavailable yesterday, would also not be short of interest, and Liddle said: "Chris Atkinson goes back to Huddersfield and one or two others will have opportunities to leave, I'm sure of that.

"If their contracts have not been honoured they are free to walk so it's going to be a difficult period.

"I've got to try and keep the players focused, but hopefully they'll get some kind of wage this week because they deserve it.

"They are the most important people at the football club as far as I'm concerned because if you haven't got football players there's no football club."