DARLINGTON MOWDEN PARK will be targeting a first home win of the season when they entertain Old Elthamians this afternoon.

While Mowden have been in excellent form on the road this term, their two outings at The Northern Echo Arena have ended in disappointment.

Nevertheless, a win this afternoon would see them leapfrog Old Elthamians and potentially climb as high as third in the National One table.

“The season has been a mixed bag so far and we need to get ourselves on track,” said Mowden skipper Ollie Hodgson. “Last Saturday was a better all-round performance, but we still lacked in some areas that we will work on as a group.”

Mowden have been buoyed by the arrival of new signing James Douglas, with the New Zealand-born hooker having joined from Australian side ACT Brumbies to provide some much-needed depth in front row after recent injuries to Brendan Asomua-Goodman and David Nelson. The 26-year-old will start on the replacements’ bench this afternoon.

Douglas’ selection is one of a number of changes to the squad that won at Rotherham last week, with a reshuffled front row seeing Alfie Barron and Joe Duffy return to start alongside Ignas Darkintis.

In the backs, summer signing Joe Lane will make his first Mowden start, replacing Callum Irvine at full-back.

“This will be a challenge for us in the fact that we need to win at home,” added Hodgson. “But we are also up against a good opposition who seem to have hit some form.

“The emotion of the boys after full-time against Rotherham, it seems to me the boys are excited for Saturday afternoon to come around. As a squad, we feel we owe our supporters a home win and a big performance back at the Arena.”

Darlington Mowden Park: Lane, Asher-Wood, Walker, Dixon, Mackenzie, Seals, McKirdy; Barron, Duffy, Darkintis, Fisher, Davies, Grange, Stokes, Hodgson.

Replacements: Douglas, Appleby, Vaioleti, Craggs, McTurk.