DARLINGTON manager Steve Watson is hoping that home advantage can help haul his side out of danger in National League North.

Quakers have 13 games remaining in total, with seven of them at Blackwell Meadows, and they are going to be key as they try to claw back the seven-point gap to fifth-bottom Rushall Olympic.

The challenge, though, is that Quakers have won only twice at home this season, under previous boss Josh Gowling against Chester and under Watson against Hereford, so they need to reverse that form.

“Our home form will be key,” admitted Watson, ahead of tomorrow's home game with Buxton. “The atmosphere at my three home games so far has been excellent, and we’re going to need every bit of support for these home games coming up. It’s good to get a run of home games, home form should be the catalyst of any team doing well.”

Watson has been in charge of nine games so far, winning three of them, and he added: “We’ve played well in all the games so far at home, and to be fair, we’ve played decent in all of our games anyway.

“We know where we need to improve, and that’s to be more ruthless in front of goal and put the ball in the net.”

A visit to Buxton earlier in the season exposed Quakers’ early-season defensive shortcomings when they were beaten 5-0, with Sam Osborne scoring a hat-trick. That proved to be the last away game for Alun Armstrong, who parted company with the club three days later.

Buxton, who will include former Darlington midfielder Tom Elliott in their line-up, are currently 13th in the table and have won their last three matches against Curzon Ashton, Banbury and Gloucester.

“We’re playing against a team who will play in the same way that South Shields played against us, but we’ve got to be more ruthless," said Watson. "We’re creating plenty, we just need to add the finishing touches.

“If the 5-0 defeat earlier in the season gives players one or two per cent more enthusiasm or energy to go and get a result, then so be it.

“Staying in the league is a big enough incentive for everybody. They shouldn’t need any motivation, otherwise they shouldn’t be here.”

Quakers have had mixed fortunes from their last two away matches, with a 4-0 win at South Shields last Saturday followed by a 2-0 defeat at Boston on Tuesday night.

“After the second goal at Boston on Tuesday, the lads’ heads dropped," said Watson. "We can’t allow that to happen. Every minute of every game is important to us.

“For an hour, there were lots of positives, and even in the last half-hour, we were still getting into their box and creating things. We’ve got to be on the front foot against Buxton and really go for it.”

Goalkeeper Tommy Taylor is missing because of injury, so Matty Young, on loan from Sunderland, will make his home debut.

Central defender Cardo Siddik is going to be out for several weeks with a hamstring injury and another centre half, Jake Lawlor, is out with a back injury. Striker Akwasi Asante has a groin injury, while midfielder Tom Platt will have a fitness test on a dead leg.