AFTER a whirlwind week of withdrawals and awards, and the possibility of supporters seizing control of their stricken club, mercifully, miraculously even, comes some football. Darlington are at Mansfield Town today.
So while talk has been of Paul Wildes pulling out, of Darlington FC Rescue Group stepping in, and of Craig Liddle being deservedly honoured by the local Sportswinners’ Scheme, the latter was delighted and relieved to turn his attention, on the eve of this afternoon’s game, to matters on-field.
“It’s another difficult game against another team aiming for the play-offs,” said Liddle, who has signed Clark Keltie and Liam Bagnall, the latter on loan, but failed in an attempt to add a striker and another defender.
“They beat us at home so we will have to be at our best if we’re going to get something from the game.
“If you look at this game and the rest of the fixtures in this run, there’s some really tough matches coming up against the top teams, so we’re going to be tested.
“The beauty for me is that we tend to play better against the better sides.
“I think the youngsters relish the challenge of playing against the better sides.
“I drum into them from an early age that they’re better off playing well against the better sides because where you want to be in your career, you want to play at the best level you can.
“Mansfield have got a lot of firepower which means we will have to defend well, not just as a back four but as a team.
“When we do get the ball we’ve got to be confident with it, we’ve got to look to keep it to take the pressure off, because we have got enough quality to hurt teams and we’ve shown that.
“We’ve done OK lately, even though we’ve not had the results, but we’ve got to get that consistency and put good performances week-in, week-out.
“We need to go down to Mansfield and start well, especially for the younger lads to give them that confidence they need if were going to get something from the game.
“We need to get the mentality right so that when we go away from home we are going to be disciplined and hard to beat.
“Hopefully we can again step up to the plate and put a performance in.”
:: GATESHEAD’S FA Trophy Third Round clash against Alfreton Town fell victim to the cold snap that has affected games up and down the length of Britain, causing a raft of postponements yesterday.
The International Stadium pitch was found to be frozen yesterday. The two sides will try again on Tuesday night at 7.45pm.