DARLINGTON are hoping that they will clinch a much-needed first home league win of the season in their match against Spennymoor Town tomorrow.

It is almost a bottom-against-top clash, with Quakers bottom of the table with just eight points so far this season and Spennymoor sitting in fourth place on 23 points.

Quakers gained a point against Blyth Spartans on Tuesday – only their second clean sheet of the season – while Moors were thumped 6-0 at fellow promotion chasers Scunthorpe on the same night.

“We were definitely encouraged defensively on Tuesday,” said Darlington boss Josh Gowling. “Obviously, we’ve got work to do offensively, but we want to build on that platform from Tuesday night.

“Spennymoor had a poor result at Scunthorpe, and they’ll be looking to bounce back.

“We’ve tried to play decent football, but we’ve conceded too many goals and that was for a reason. So, it was back to basics on Tuesday and about being resilient and better organised.

“Every game we’ve played so far, we’ve had the majority of possession, and those games were really good sometimes. But Blyth was a game when we didn’t have the majority of possession and so we had to concentrate for the full 90 minutes, which the lads did.”

Spennymoor's six-goal thrashing at Scunthorpe came somewhat out of the blue, and Gowling is wary of a reaction from tomorrow's visitors.

“It’s important that we do the basics right and that we work hard, but at the end of the day, we want to get a few more points on the board," he said.

“We don’t want to be where we are, but we’re working tirelessly to make sure that we don’t end up where we are at the end of the season.

“The lads have been brilliant since I came in, they’re a good group that’s been together for a while. They’re getting a really good understanding of what I want, in and out of possession, and it will all come together.”

Gowling gave debuts to Kieran Burton, Jim Simms and Hayden Lindley on Tuesday, and there’ll be two new signings in the squad on Saturday.

Defender Blaine Rowe has completed a suspension carried over from previous club Barwell, while Charlie Winfield has joined on loan for a month from Barnsley. He is the eighth player Gowling has signed for Darlington.

“I thought Kieran was excellent the other night, he stepped in and was aggressive," said Gowling. "I felt sorry for Jim because the way that the game went, we had to change our shape and we had to take him off. Hayden came on the field and looked very good, he kept play moving along well, and did the simple things well.”

Midfielder Ben Liddle is out for several weeks with an ankle injury, and striker Mitch Curry had a shoulder injury. Midfielder Adriano Moke is also close to full fitness again.

On-loan goalkeeper David Robson missed training on Thursday, so Tommy Taylor is on standby for a recall.

Spennymoor manager Lewis Dickman has vowed there will be no repeat of his side's poor performance in midweek, which was their second successive defeat, and knocked them out of the top three.

“Physically and mentally, we weren’t good enough,” he said. “That was one of the worst defeats I’ve had in my 30 years of football, that was not acceptable for this football club.  I guarantee that performance will not happen again.

“It took us too long to adjust to Scunthorpe’s game-plan, far too many players in the team were nowhere near. We were sloppy, lackadaisical and not bright enough.

“Scunthorpe looked as if they wanted it more. I’m not sure how much some of our players cared, and that’s the disappointing thing. They shouldn’t need any motivation for their next game. We’ve got enough experience of lads who have played against Darlington. It will be a different performance, because the reaction will be different.”

Moors had defender Ben Pollock dismissed for an off the ball incident at 3-0 on Tuesday, but his suspension starts next week.

“That was far from acceptable," said Dickman. "He knows better than that. He knows that he’s let everyone down.”

Darlington and Spennymoor played each other three times last season, with Quakers coming out on top twice, in the FA Trophy and the league game at Blackwell Meadows. The teams drew 1-1 at the Brewery Field early in the season.

Of the last five league games at Blackwell Meadows, two have been draws, while Quakers have won twice and Moors once, in 2019.