DAVID WHEATER has backed Jacob Hazel to score the goals that will be needed to fire Darlington into the National League North play-off places come the end of the season.

While Alun Armstrong has openly admitted he is looking to bring in a new forward ahead of Saturday’s game at Alfreton, Hazel currently finds himself shouldering the Quakers’ goalscoring responsibilities following the recent departure of Mark Beck.

Hazel drew a blank as Darlington ground out a goalless draw with Kidderminster at the weekend, but he tops the club’s scoring charts with 18 goals in all competitions this season and Wheater is confident he will continue to find the back of the net in the final two months of the campaign.

“His bread and butter are those little turns in the area, and he’s strong,” said the centre-half. “I obviously train against him, and he’s good and strong with a low centre of gravity.

“He’s going to get us goals this season. Obviously, he already has, but I’d back him to get some more and keep us in those play-off places.”

At the other end of the field, Wheater was part of a Darlington defence that kept only a second clean sheet since early December at the weekend.

“It was a cracking point for the defenders, with a clean sheet,” he said, in an interview with Darlington's official website. “We had chances, and could maybe have had a few decisions go our way, but it’s a point on the board and hopefully in the next game we can go and get three.

“Sometimes, we looked deep, but we were just being cautious. We didn’t want to let them have one ball where they could be clean through on goal. I think we did our job well. They were quite sharp up front, but I think we defended well and did our jobs.”