IT’S been a busy week both on and off the pitch for Darlo. Tuesday saw us secure what turned out to be a decent point at Skelmersdale. Meanwhile, one player has arrived, two have left and another has been made available for transfer.

I didn’t get over to Skelmersdale so that left me continuously refreshing Twitter and crawling up the wall as the second half progressed. Despite us having three guilt-edged chances in the first half, it appeared we were unlucky to go in at half time behind, falling foul to a fluke goal.

The second half was one of frustration. With a lack of good chances to equalise, it appeared that the game was beyond us. Cue the 90th minute equaliser from Graeme Armstrong and a celebratory dance from me that nobody needed to see.

Off the field, Anthony Bell and Ryan Brobbel left the club. Bell had a number of opportunities to impress but sadly, he didn’t quite look up for the challenge. In a physical division, the ex-Darlo academy player looked a bit femur. Meanwhile, despite making an impact as a sub at home to Ramsbottom, Brobbel didn’t kick on to secure a place in the team.

Once again, players coming straight out of an academy have failed to shine. Adam Mitchell remains the only player to have made the transition successfully. I have no doubt that these players coming from Sunderland, Newcastle and Middlesbrough have lots of ability but I suspect the challenge of converting from pampered full-time professional to semi-pro is one too far. It takes a highly motivated individual to make that transition.

Coming in to the club is Lee Gaskell from Ramsbottom. His goalscoring record speaks for itself although that doesn’t always guarantee success. However, we saw enough in the two games against Ramsbottom to know he will add some much-needed depth to our depleted pool of forwards.

I would imagine that Gaskell’s arrival will see Graeme Armstrong get a well deserved rest. The ex-Whitby Town front man has probably played more minutes than he would’ve liked following his traumatic summer. In other circumstances, I doubt he would have played the full game on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Ian Watson has been made available for transfer. He had made no secret that he wanted first team football. It’s a shame that this decision has been taken as he is clearly well integrated within the squad. However, Terry Galbraith is Martin Gray’s first choice left back. For what it counts, Galbraith is also my preference, both for his defensive abilities and his importance from set pieces. Sadly, it’s nigh on impossible to keep two players who covet one position happy.

Back to the action and we face Marine tomorrow. After a traumatic season where relegation was avoided by the narrowest of margins, the Crosby side were hoping to be more competitive this season. While they’ve only won two, they’ve only lost two. In a league of goals, goals and more goals, they sport the joint-best defence, conceding eight goals in ten games.

With three clean sheets and just two goals conceded in their five away games, I suspect we’re going to have to be patient against them. With us having looked at our most vulnerable defensively when chasing after goals, I’d be happy with a simple, 1-0, even if it takes a while for it to come.