Jack Lambert enhanced his chances of being selected in Darlington’s starting XI with an eye-catching performance as a substitute on Saturday, described as “brilliant” by manager Alun Armstrong.

The attack-minded midfielder made an impact against Leamington, and could even start this evening when Quakers play at winless Southport.

But Armstrong has hinted that he is reluctant to drop any of his starting XI.

“I thought Jack was outstanding when he came on,” said the manager. “He wasn’t great during the week against Newton Aycliffe, but none of the senior lads were, it was just a case of getting through the game.

“But I thought he was brilliant against Leamington and did not give the ball away once. He created things, he made things happen and he’s such a clever footballer.

“He’s given me food for thought. But if I was Kev Dos Santos and I’ve scored a goal I’d be disappointed not to play the next game.

“Maybe we could change the system and get him in the team as a No. 10, but who do you drop out of Luke and Cass? Luke needs Cass alongside him.”

Dos Santos scored the opener in Quakers’ weekend 1-1 draw with Leamington, but in the second half was substituted for the fourth game in a row.

Armstrong explained: “People were probably surprised that I took Kev off, but he blew up after an hour which he does sometimes because he works ever so hard.

“Their left-back was their best player, and Jarrett Rivers understands how to play the defensive part of the game. Their left-back countered and Jarrett was tracking him, but Jack, Kev and Junior switch off on things like that. Jarrett gives a safety net when we’re out of possession.”

Defenders Danny Ellis and George Smith remain unavailable.

Left-back Smith sustained an injury against Hereford ten days ago, and Armstrong explained: “He strained a few ligaments. At first we thought it was just a kick, but under closer inspection he’s strained a few ligaments so he’ll not be fit this week, maybe he’ll be back for Kettering next week.”

Southport are bottom of the table having failed to win any of their seven league games, but have beaten both Chorley and Spennymoor Town in the FA Cup.