Preview: Harriers v Darlington
April 19, 2011

Preview: Harriers v Darlington

Harriers' play-off destiny is still in their own hands as they begin a week of massive, must-win, games this evening with the visit of Darlington.

Thanks to three consecutive draws Harriers find themselves four points off fifth-placed Fleetwood but with a game still in hand, that game is tonight's.  Victory against The Quakers tonight would close that gap to just one point and turn Friday's game against Fleetwood into the biggest of the season.

Steve Burr may opt to freshen the line-up tonight with Lee Morris nearing fitness, although Friday's game is more likely for him, and Saturday's substitute heroes Jamille Matt and Tom Shaw pushing for starting places.  Matt Lowe is also near to fitness after hurting his ankle in training last week but Tom Sharpe is still definitely out.

Darlington have little left to play for in the league; they are 11 points of the play-offs with four games to go, so would need to win them all and hope that Harriers, Fleetwood and York didn't pick up any more points.  Their focus now switches to the FA Trophy Final at Wembley against Mansfield Town, so their players will be looking to impress in order to secure a place in the team for that game, although none of them will want to get hurt and rule themselves out.  Mark Cooper will be without Chris Senior who has a calf injury: Liam Hatch is doubtful, and Gary Smith is suspended.

Earlier this season the teams played out a hard-fought 1-1 draw with Harriers' goal coming from skipper Keith Briggs. Overall Harriers have the edge in previous meetings with eight wins and four draws from 16 games, and at Aggborough the record is even better with five wins and three draws from nine games.

I expect Harriers to line-up as follows (4-2-3-1): Lewis; Vaughan, Williams, Briscoe, Albrighton; Briggs, Shaw; Wright, McPhee, Blair; Canham.
Subs (from): Hankin, Byrne, Gittings, Matt, Thompson-Brown, Stevens, Taylor.
Missing (injured): Lowe, Morris, Sharpe.
Missing (on-loan): Griffiths.

The referee tonight is Kevin Johnson from Weston-Super-Mare.  This will be his first time in charge of a Harriers game.

Tonight's weather forecast is for clear skies and a temperature around 19°C at kick-off time.