Preview: Darlington v Harriers
February 24, 2018

Preview: Darlington v Harriers

Harriers make a long trip to the North East this afternoon looking to bounce  back from last weekend's defeat.

Last Saturday's defeat by Harrogate saw Harriers slip back to fifth place but they could climb back up a spot this afternoon if they can overcome the lowly Quakers and Blyth lose at Leamington.

Jon Flatt is set to continue in goal for Harriers while Brandon Hall recovers from a thigh strain while defender Jimmy O'Connor will miss out again with an achilles injury; James Pearson will deputise leaving Sam Austin and Joel Taylor to contest the left-back spot.  The rest of the team is likely to be unchanged although Dan Bradley is pressing for a place in the line-up now that he is back from injury and loanee George Waring is still looking for his first start.

Darlington, like Harriers, saw their unbeaten run ended last weekend.  Defeat at Brackley ended a run of three straight wins and a five-game unbeaten streak, a sequence that had lifted them out of the relegation zone after a run of one win in eleven had seen them drop down the table.  The Quakers welcome back Stephen Thompson from suspension and former Harrier Reece Styche from illness but they will be without the injured Dominic Collins, James Caton, Tom Portas and Chris Hunter.

Earlier in the season the sides played out a 3-3 draw with Harriers' goals coming from Andre Brown, James McQuilkin and Elton Ngwatala.  Harriers have a good record agains Darlington with 11 wins to six from 22 previous meetings.

I expect Harriers to line-up as follows (4-3-3): Flatt; Vaughan, Taylor, Pearson, Horsfall; Weeks, Croasdale, McQuilkin; Sonupe, Ironside, Ngwatala.
Subs (from): Austin, Bradley, A. Brown, Palmer, Truslove, Waring.
Missing (injured): Hall, O'Connor.
Missing (on-loan): J. Brown, Digie.
Missing (dual-reg.): Finch, Webb.

The referee today will be Dean Hulme form Northumberland who will be taking charge of his first Harriers match.

This afternoon's weather is forecast to be a chilly 5°C and clear with no chance of rain.