DARLINGTON begin a crucial week having been boosted with the return from injury of several players.

Saturday’s game with Curzon Ashton marks the beginning of three fixtures in eight days against teams below Quakers, who are 14th in the table and five points above the relegation zone.

Darlington travel to Tamworth on Tuesday, and next weekend are at home to bottom-of-the-table North Ferriby, completing a sequence of fixtures which offers an opportunity to almost secure the club’s status in the National League North.

Manager Tommy Wright can now call on Ben O’Hanlon, Gary Brown and James Caton, all of whom were missing when Quakers last played a fortnight ago when they beat Kidderminster Harriers 2-1 at home.

“James and Ben would’ve been available last Saturday, but the postponement means they’ve had an extra week to do a bit more work,” said Wright.

“They trained on Tuesday and looked fresh and very sharp. Ben did really well before he came out of the team and so did James Caton, so their returns gives us food for thought and a selection headache for Saturday.”

Caton had overcome a hamstring problem sustained against Blyth on February 10, while O’Hanlon suffered an abdominal issue against Brackley in his fourth game for the club since joining from Harrogate Town.

Wright said: “I think it was mixture of going from full-time training to part-time, and going from not playing much at Harrogate to playing every week for us. It’s been a change to his body, and the pitch at Brackley was very heavy. It was more like a beach than a football pitch.

“But he’s full fit now, and he’s ready to go.”

Brown did not play against Kidderminster having suffered headaches in the week beforehand and, having suffered concussion earlier in the season, a decision was made to rest him.

Wright explained: “He’s had another scan, and we now know it’s not related to the concussion that he suffered, it was his neck this time.

“He is free to train and play, but it will be a process for him, spending time with the physios between matches to get him 100 per cent, but at least we know where we stand with him.

“He’s going to have to manage it in the short-term, but in the long-term he should be fine.”

Meanwhile, Dom Collins is very close to returning a hamstring strain. He may be involved in the warm-up tomorrow, with Wright’s plan being to involve him in a full week of training before making his return next weekend, while Tom Portas is around a fortnight away from recovering a calf problem.

Wright added: “Dom Collins could be involved if we pushed him, he looks really sharp. He looks very well, he’s been doing a lot of work with the fitness coach and the physio.

“But after being out for six or seven weeks it’s probably the right decision not to rush him and take that extra week.

“Browny is back, and Jack Vaulks came in the other week and did really well. So there’s no reason to push Dom.

“Tom is in the same boat and I want to get to the bottom of this. I don’t like it when players break down because it reflects badly on the physio department, but Tom has probably been forcing himself to get fit because he knows his contract is coming to an end.

“I’ve had a good chat with Tom and told him not to worry about that. There’s still ten games to go, I’d like to think he’ll will be ready in a fortnight.”