NEW Darlington manager Josh Gowling has taken his players back to basics ahead of tomorrow's bottom-of-the-table clash against Gloucester.

Gowling was appointed on Tuesday, a fortnight after previous boss Alun Armstrong was sacked, and his first brief is to get Quakers away from the bottom of the table.

They haven’t won yet at home in the league this season in four attempts, while opponents Gloucester, who are a place and a point above them, haven’t claimed an away win. They sacked their manager, Tim Flowers, on Sunday, and quickly appointed Mick Cook in his place.

Within hours of being appointed, Gowling was putting his ideas across to the players in Tuesday’s training session.

He said: “We had a good chat on my first day in the job. We looked at a few things and had an honest conversation. Then we went out and worked on the training ground. The lads were really receptive, there’s some real quality in the squad.

“It’s going to take time to get things right. We’re a part-time club, it’s going to take time to implement everything. You’ll see on Saturday that there will be a few things different straight away.

“It’s a long season, there’s a lot of time to work with the boys to make sure that we get up the table.”


Quakers have conceded 19 goals in their nine league games this season, which is the worst record in the league. They’ve conceded five at Buxton and four at Scunthorpe.

Gowling added: “It isn’t just the back players who are the reason why we’re conceding goals. It’s a team sport at the end of the day and there are reasons behind that. We’ve got to make sure we run a tight ship and improve defensively.

“The big thing is confidence, we’ve just got to build it. It’s been a long period, even since last season. The lads aren’t used to winning and we need to get back to that.

“When you’re not confident, you make mistakes, which isn’t characteristic of experienced players. We’ve got to get back to basics. Work hard, be solid and organised and use the ball well. If we do all those things, we’ll win more games than we lose this year.”

Victory tomorrow could lift Quakers out of the bottom four if results go in their favour – they’ve only won four league games since the end of January – and Gowling said: “It’s a tough one to start with. The only way is up, from my point of view that’s what we’re looking to do. There are still 30 odd games to play. We haven’t started well, we know that.

“But there’s a good group there. The spirit is okay, there’s a good bit of banter in the dressing room, and the lads want to put things right, which is a big thing.

“I’ve been in teams before when we’ve been down there, and morale and confidence have been low, and it’s been different. This group’s not like that.

“The fans are passionate, I know they’ll come and support us, and push the team.”

With keeping a clean sheet in mind, Gowling, who played over 500 games in his career as a centre-half, might make changes defensively. He will have striker Finlay Barnes available for the last game of his month’s loan from York City.