Preview: Darlington v Harriers
February 22, 2011

Preview: Darlington v Harriers

Harriers face another long trip this evening, heading north to face Darlington knowing that victory will lift them back into the play-offs.

If results elsewhere, Wrexham visit leaders Wimbledon tonight, go in their favour a Harriers victory would lift them up to fourth.  Steve Burr will have to make changes to the side that won at Cambridge on Friday as Lee Vaughan picked up his tenth yellow card of the season and now sits out two games through suspension, Tom Shaw will probably fill in at right back.  Dave Hankin is available for selection again after shaking off the injury that has kept him out of the last couple of games but Lee Morris has only an outside chance of recovering in time for tonight, although he is getting close to fitness.

Darlington, like Harriers, are on a good run of form and have lost just one of their last nine Conference games and haven't lost at home since early October when they were sunk by Hayes & Yeading.  Last time out in front of their own fans they thrashed bottom club Eastbourne 6-1, since then they have won at Cambridge and drawn at Forest Green.  Mark Cooper will be without Liam Hatch who is suspended and John Campbell, Gregg Taylor and one-time Harrier Aman Verma who are all injured.

On their previous two visits to the Darlington Arena Harriers have returned with all of the points, spoiling Darlington's party as they opened the stadium in August 2003.  Overall meetings between the clubs have favoured Harriers with eight wins and three draws from fifteen previous games; in Darlington the record is even with three wins apiece.

I expect Harriers to line-up as follows (4-4-2): Lewis; Shaw, Williams, Briscoe, Albrighton; Blair, Briggs, Byrne, Wright; McPhee, Canham.
Subs (from): Hankin, Griffiths, Sharpe, Gittings, Matt, Thompson-Brown, Stevens.
Missing (injured): Morris.
Missing (suspended): Vaughan

The referee tonight will be Colin Harwood from Manchester.  This will be his third time in charge of a Harriers game; last season he did the home win over Hayes and the home defeat by Barrow.

Tonight's weather in the North East is forecast to be cloudy with a temperature of 6°C.